6 South Asian Streetwear Brands That Are Reclaiming Our Power
Urban fashion is a movement that started within the California surf and skate communities of the ‘80s and exploded in the ‘90s. The casual, comfortable clothes were analogous to an artist’s street art or a hip-hop artist’s lyrics. The consumer had much power in determining the design and the artist’s streetwear created a sense of community among patrons. Over the past few years, streetwear has made a huge comeback, starting in Los Angeles.
In the past decade, we have seen a wave South Asian diaspora artists and designers put their on spin on streetwear. With bold graphics, vibrant colors and cutural motifs, South Asian streetwear serves as a bridge to connect the diaspora with the roots of their motherland. Here are 6 South Asian brands that are decontexualizing the nuances of being South Asian and reclaiming its beauty in our power.
Dacca is one of the most promising streetwear brands in Bengal. It has successfully combined the revival of traditional Bengali craftsmanship with high-street fashion to create a unique lifestyle experience.
Dacca's philosophy is centered on sustainability, fair trade, and conscious consumption, promoting social change while providing a uniquely Bangladeshi lifestyle experience.
Each collection showcases a unique textile craftsmanship. Artisans are recruited from all over Bangladesh to showcase their work on urban, sustainably produced fabrics. Each piece is made individually at a small scale to preserve the stories of the artisans.
We love Volume 1 and Volume 2, which celebrate the beauty of nakshi kantha, block prints and khadi. Each sweatshirt was printed with vibrant blocks and stitched with gorgeous nakshi kantha accents.
Volume 2 decontextualizes the beautiful tradition of Khadi by decomposing it into oversized graphic tees with 19th century Bengali Renaissance art.
Check out Dacca's latest collection at @fromdacca .
All images from @fromdacca
Imran Jami mixes Andy Warhol-esque artwork and surreal, vibrant illustrations into his Jami Apparel collections, which blend Indo-Pak culture and Western aesthetics.
Jami Apparel is not afraid of bold colors and the themes of duality. The artwork is thought-provoking and intentional. Some of their most popular products include the Pop the Pakola sweatshirts, which have been worn by Hollywood star Kumail Nanjaini.
The brand's Rooh Afza Long Sleeves and Ajrak Ice Cream Sleeves capture the beauty and duality of the identity Pakistani-American with scintillating prints and surreal hues.
Grab some eclectic Jami Apparel at @jamiapparel .
All images from @jamiapparel
Gundi Studios is a feminist womxn brand celebrating outspoken desi women through fashion,art, and supply chain. They are committed to empowering artisans in India and deliver handcrafted goods that are made in small batches using sustainable practices.
The Gundi Jacket is one of their most striking pieces, with a luxurious satin embroidered with golden aari, zari, and cut dana work. It celebrates the strength of being a woman.
Another unique piece is the Aazadi dress. A-line cut and embroidered straps and seams seamlessly marry the power of the female diaspora, South Asian artisanal techniques, and modern urban fashion. Did we mention they were all handmade?
Get your hands on the lucious Gundi Bomber Jacket at @gundistudios !
All images from @gundistudios
KingNoor | LA was founded by Angela Ahmadi in September of 2013. While at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Ahmadi knew she was destined to become a designer.
Her trip to Afghanistan in 2010 inspired her to create a brand that not only empowers Afghanistan but also targets the untapped Afghani fashion industry.
KingNoor |LA represents shining a positive light on Afghanistan, its people, and its unique heritage by providing inspiration and power. "Noor" means light and "King" represents a symbol of high power.
Their collection includes graphic t-shirts and hoodies that feature illustrations of Afghanistan's fiercest women trailblazers. Some of their standout pieces include the Iconic Women's tee that features illustrations of Afghan women.
While the Sulh hoodie seems minimalist on the front, the back is embellished with gorgeous calligraphy spelling out Peace (which means peace) and surrounded with all of the different ethnic groups in Afghanistan. It symbolizes a simple but very clear message of peace and unity.
Visit their shop @kingnoorla to get access to some of the best Afghani Streetwear.
All images are from @kingnoorla.
This Toronto based street wear phenomenon is marrying Punjbai heritage with the streets. “ We built our brand around the simple idea that integration didn’t have to mean assimilation.Our brand is a beautiful marriage of two very distinct and rich cultures. And where we are today is a reflection of our passion for the cultures and the communities we’re a part of.”
Their paisely hoodies are absolutely stunning. Sublimated hoodies with gorgeous pink paisley artwork that are lightweight yet lined with brushed fleece to keep you cozy and warm during the Canadian winter. There unique designs feature beautiful, embroidered calligraphy. All items are unisex, so anyone can enjoy them.
They also support many South Asian artists and North American organizations, like DCwale desi, which supports small South Asian businesses in the Washington, D.C. area. Some of their latest collections have been breathtaking collabs with @hafandhaf and @anumation.
Rootsgear is not just a clothing line, they are a voice and platform to South Asian designers and artists that is making trevolutionary waves across North America.
Join their revolutionary movement @rootsgearofficial and grab a grogeous paisley hoodie.
All images from @rootsgearofficial.
NorBlack NorWhite was born from respecting the past, questioning the present, and designing for the future. Raised in Toronto, Mriga Kapadiya and Amrit Kumar moved to Bombay in 2010 to discover their Indian roots and a different way of living.
Kapadiya and Kumar, after learning the traditional artisanal technique of Bandhani, decided to develop new ways to reinterpret traditional textiles and showcase underrepresented art forms to the world truly from an aesthetic, process and value point of view.
They fuse traditional techniques such as ikat, ti-dye, indigo, with urban apparel. We love the colourful designs of the Islands General unisex set, the gorgeous gradient tie-dye Khus Khus shirt and Tapendae Bomber Jacket.
NorBlackNorWhite shows the beauty of being in the grey space and pushing the boundaries of what streetwear is. Each piece is made to order and handmade with the most delicate touch.
If you love bold, bright colors and artisanal techniques, treat yourself to an gorgeous, comforatble General Set from @norblacknorwhite !
All images from @norblacknorwhite.