5 Labels That Are Putting A Distinctive Homegrown Spin On 'Opiumcore' Streetwear
L:Garuda SS R: Aesthetic of Resistance

5 Labels That Are Putting A Distinctive Homegrown Spin On 'Opiumcore' Streetwear

From Rebellion and resistance to gothic horror and opulence to emo and scene to general nihilism; the emotions associated with Opiumcore are definitely as dark as the drug that the trend is named after. Globally, the trend has been on an upward swing, especially among streetwear for men, after artist Playboi Carti launched his label o p i u m. While the initial draw was from music and the impact of this was in North American and European countries where darker-hued attire made more sense, it has made its way to India too. While the practicality of wearing dark colours and heavy layers in India for the sake of fashion is a whole other conversation, Opiumcore as a trend has also caught the eye of select designers and streetwear lovers alike in India. 

The elements of irreverence, opulence, and even dark humour are something that perhaps speak to the modern Indian, their predicament and their sensibilities. While it is a niche trend, the availability of Opiumcore pieces, is easier than one would think. From casual tees and hoodies in black, that speak to your inner emo kid that hasn’t seen the light since Y2K to avant-garde constructed pieces that draw from countercultural movements like punk and goth all come together under the name. It essentially integrates elements of avant-garde haute couture with streetwear, punk, and metal influences in the same breath. This fusion of styles is perhaps what has propelled Opiumcore into mainstream, with key fashion elements from the trend making their way even into popular fashion. And while there are no dedicated opiumcore brands that we can find in India (yet), the following are some homegrown brands whose attire would speak to someone looking to channel the aesthetic. 

1. Garuda

For those who love utilitarian attire, Garuda is the perfect choice to go shopping for an opiumcore piece. Featuring meticulous tailoring and construction, the label plays around with the concept of what being fashionable means. But at the end of the day, Garuda creates clothes that are for taking on all of life - work, street or the runway. While their pieces are simple on paper- a black cotton jogger, a long-sleeved tee, a poplin shirt - their construction and details are anything but. Each of the designs from Garuda has elements that make it truly unique and lends itself to the overall aesthetic of whatever you look decide to create with it. 

Follow them here.

5 Labels That Are Putting A Distinctive Homegrown Spin On 'Opiumcore' Streetwear
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2. KNN Calcutta

While the brand from Calcutta has a wide selection of attire to choose from, their Black Pasta collection from the last quarter of 2023 is one that fits perfectly into the Opiumcore aesthetic. From tees to body suits, the pieces from KNN Calcutta are eclectic, but if you have the eye for it, you are sure to find a piece or two that fits right into the Opiumcore-inspired look you are trying to realise. 

Follow them here.

3. Aesthetic of Resistance

From the name to the branding, the notion of resistance and rebellion is evidently front and centre for this label that plays right into the aspects of Opiumcore. From heat-reactive jackets to imposing, constructed jackets (such as the one crafted by the label for the musician King for his recent Rolling Stone India Cover) - the range of attire from Aesthetic of Resistance is varied and often customisable. Referring to themselves as a label that stands for ‘freedom from conformity, art away from art, closer to ideology, movement, and revolution.’ 

Follow them here.

4. WOIOI

If you are reading this, the chances are that you are someone who is at least aware of the emo/scene lifestyle and aesthetics of the early aughts. The emo subculture in particular was known for its dark clothes, and refrains of loneliness and depression. Playing right into the concepts of darkness that align with Opiumcore, While the style is more young and fun, the pieces from WOIOI speak to a lighter side of the aesthetic that plays with notions of being ‘bad kids’ and ‘being burnt and turnt’ with typography and splashes of colour amid the general monochrome of black that is typical of the style. 

Follow them here.

5 Labels That Are Putting A Distinctive Homegrown Spin On 'Opiumcore' Streetwear
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5. 𝐀𝐥𝐭𝐞𝐫-𝐗

Founded by Nitish Arora, Alter-X is a brand to turn to for avant-garde pieces to add to your opium-core-inspired looks. The founder and designer of the label goes beyond the norms of traditional attire and creates innovative and unique clothes that blend art and creative rebellion, with elegance and craft. Using fashion as a medium for expression is at the heart of the label and the founder is someone who looks to fashion as a powerful medium for personal and collective expression, challenging conventional style norms. The pieces from his capsule collections Berlin and Acidic especially are those that would work as statement pieces with great construction and details. 

Follow them here.

Personally, this writer is eyeing the roomy black canvas trousers from Garuda SS, the Diana tee from KNN or the Bad Boys one from WOIOI, and a constructed jacket from Alter-X and finishing off with an Aesthetic of Resistance cap to put together a complete homegrown Opiumcore outfit. But that’s just me. Whether you are one for this trend or not, the curated list of brands is a great option if you’re looking to discover something off-beat and avant-garde, especially a wardrobe staple in a darker palette or in varying hues of black. 

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