A new wave of Japanese-inspired South Asian fashion brands

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Over the past few years, as a country, we’ve had a kind of Japanese frenzy. Whether it’s Japanese food or Japanese shows and anime. Fashion is no different in this respect and we have noticed a number of South Asian brands that take inspiration from both Harajuku street style and Tokyo street style and the many futuristic designs that are at the intersection of fashion and function as well as those inspired by traditional Japanese techniques, whether model making or shibori.

Here are some of the new waves of South Asian fashion brands leading a new decade of fashion inspired by Japanese aesthetics and techniques.

Image Courtesy: Adheera

I. Adheera

Founded by Dipika Udhani, an autodidact shibori Gujarat-based artist and fashion entrepreneur, Adheera emphasizes Japanese hand-dyeing techniques in reserve. Born out of a curiosity to learn tie-dye printing techniques, the brand gives the age-old practice of Shibori an ethical twist by creating designs with minimal waste by replacing chemical dyes with natural dyes. Moving away from the seasonal clothing ideology of fast fashion brands, they promote timeless pieces that have exquisite details derived from tie-dye, surface ornamentation and embroidery; where each garment tells a story in patterns and colors, while being equally new and independent of tradition.

Discover them here.

II. GARUDA

Refining the reach of design and techwear appeal in the Indian subcontinent is the fledgling brand, Garuda, which blends design and functionality to appeal to contemporary urban youth. Designed by Suhail Sahrawat, they have been headlining the techwear market for a while now. Since its inception, GARUDA has always focused on producing high performance, versatile clothing, drawing inspiration from classic silhouettes and using the highest quality materials from around the world. While the concept of techwear originated in the United States, it was Japanese streetwear culture that really brought it to the fore. Whether amplifying the traditional kimono or cyberpunk techwear aesthetic, Japanese street culture was the first to move on and Garuda seems to be following the trend.

You can find the brand here.

Sustainable fashion brand Mishé uses Japanese patternmaking techniques
Image Courtesy: Mishe

III. Mishe

Founded in 2018 by mother-daughter duo Bhumika and Minakshi Ahluwalia, the brand tells the story of their bond while keeping sustainability at the heart of everything. Bhumika debuted with the brand at Lakme Fashion Week’s virtual event in 2020 in the “Gen Next” category and won an award for her collection “Shuwa‘. For the collection, they used varieties of fabrics such as orange peel fabric, banana fabric, recycled cotton and hand-woven cotton in shades of light yellow, pink, eggplant and two-tone blue, among others. . Inspired by geometry and architecture – shapes and forms created by hand gestures inspired them to juxtapose them in silhouettes; they additionally used cord embroidery inspired by the lines of palm trees. In a previous interview with Homegrown, they said, “We focus a lot on creating models. We believe this is an integral part of the garment making process. Our designs are minimal yet detailed, primarily inspired by shapes and forms. We use zero waste pattern making techniques and Japanese pattern making techniques that result in minimal fabric wastage. We make sure to recycle every little cut created when making the garment. We want to promote beautifully constructed conscious clothing through each of our collections.

Shop the collection here.

British-Bangladeshi brand Saeedah Haque revisits the traditional abaya inspired by Japanese streetwear
Image Courtesy: Dazed Digital

IV. Saidah Haque

London-based, 23-year-old Bangladeshi-born Briton Saeedah Haque launched her fashion label to redefine how we look at the traditional abaya. At the heart of her brand, she transforms the traditional abaya worn by Muslim women into streetwear that can be easily paired with your favorite kicks. Her designs are minimalist and draw heavily on fine Japanese craftsmanship and her Bangladeshi heritage. Elements such as side pockets, zippers, high collars, clean cuts, varied fitted sleeves and buttons add mobility to the garment and make it suitable for everyday wear. Talking about the inspiration behind her brand idea, she mentioned that her time in Japan, where she saw women wearing the kimono as well as loose clothing that was both a conservative way of dressing that did not compromise on fashion.

Discover them here.

V. VIRSHETE

Virsheté is an ultra-cool Mumbai-based ready-to-wear brand that was launched in 2019 by fashion designer and creative director, Vir Shete. Their spring-summer 2020 ready-to-wear collection was a tribute to the designer’s time in Japan and the people they met there. It draws heavily from Tokyo street style and Japanese martial arts uniforms and equipment.

Check out the label here.

VI. vertical step

Walking Verticle was founded by Akash Patwal, a 24-year-old NIFT graduate turned new age textile artist who pushes the boundaries of what can be considered textiles, while bridging the gap between the textile medium and abstract art. Experimenting with embroidery, eco-printing, patchwork and other intricate processes that require optimal craftsmanship and detail, the brand draws inspiration from the loose, abstract designs of Tokyo’s streetwear culture. Abstract forms, shapes, intricate details and colors are signature elements of the textile genius’ work, all of which are part of an unmistakably Japanese streetwear aesthetic.

Discover them here.

If you enjoyed this read, we also suggest you read:

5 local fashion labels at the forefront of artistic exploration

Stylist Manipuri fosters identity and cultural narratives through fashion

A slow-fashion brand that revives the craft traditions of Kachchh

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