The lens of South Asian fashion conjures up a stereotypical image of dainty paisleys, traditional aesthetics, or some vague ‘exoticism’ that comes in the shape of ‘Made in Bangladesh’ or ‘Made in India’ tags.
Contemporary South Asian designers are challenging these preconceived notions as they shape up a fashion vocabulary that evokes a cultural blend of local craftsmanship and modern sensibilities to create informed representation.
It’s important to acknowledge this new crop of culturally diverse designers aspiring to give back to their communities and showcase the Southern Hemispheres fashion imprint in a new light.
Here’s a list of emerging designers charting a newfound cultural identity we’re loving at the moment.
Rescha is a manifestation of Charlotte Chowdhary’s multicultural roots; Indian and French. After graduating from the prestigious Central Saint Martins and her stint of developing textiles at the french fashion house Jacque Mus, the designer discovered her passion for authentic craftsmanship and fabrics which manifested in her starting her own label Rescha.
‘Rescha means yarn in Hindi and all our clothes come from carefully chosen yarns, exclusively using deadstock and sustainable fibers’ explains the brand’s website.
Owning up to a cultural emblem that portrays the best of both worlds, Recha’s core lies in representing a contrasting cultural identity that ties together its mutual appreciation for indigenous artisanship and personal narratives weaved through contemporary knitwear silhouettes.
From reclaiming the North Eastern Gamcha to tapping into French Intarsia, each garment is made through conscious manufacturing, supporting local artisans and ensuring minimal waste.
II. Love Closely
While the streetwear mania seems to have been feverishly gripping the next generation of fashion enthusiasts, Love Closely lets the hype take a backseat to create meaningful streetwear rooted in culture, tradition, and history.
Love Closely is about leading a conscious revival of forgotten poetry, art, and culture from the Middle East and South Asia. It’s impressive to denote the brand’s ability to tap into a ‘streetwear with a story’ design vision. Boasting of a cult fan following that includes celebrities like Justin Beiber, Jessie Reyez, Riz Ahmed and Roy Woods, the trailblazing streetwear label is worth looking out for!
III. The Other
‘The Other honours the complexity of multicultural roots, the stories of where we come from, and celebrates individuality and dynamic identities boldly.’
Grappling with a mixed identity that collides her Muslim roots and American upbringing, Nyla Hassan has always struggled with the tension of making sense of her multi-layered identity that includes being Muslim, South Asian and white a complex mix after all!
The Brooklyn-based designer channelled her calling for fashion into a vocation after graduation by working with the likes of Eli Tahari and Tony Burch. After her stint in knitwear and embroidery, she set out to launch her own label, which transcends boundaries and borders in an increasingly globalized market.
Easy-going, relaxed yet imminently elegant with a signature touch of south Asian craft techniques like Zardozi embroidered kurtas or tie-dyed maxi dresses are some of the signature pieces in the covetable brand’s collection.
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