India is witnessing the evolution of streetwear at a fast pace. (Photo: Instagram/ Designed by Gargi Singh)
Streetwear has been around for over 40 years, but it is only recently that it moved into the higher echelons of fashion, establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with. Fashion is ever-evolving, and streetwear has not lagged behind ever since its emergence in the 70s, building up a reputation with the younger generation over the years. But now, streetwear has made its way into the wardrobe of every age bracket.
Just when everyone thought streetwear couldn't get any bigger, it did. "Streetwear is an evolution, much like fashion itself. It's anything and everything you want it to mean. It is about tapping into people who genuinely understand and treat streetwear as a lifestyle and not a fashion trend," comments Avni Aneja, co-founder of Six5Six Sport and Six5Six Street.
And it is no different in India as the country is witnessing the evolution of streetwear at a fast pace. No longer underground or merely seen abroad, this new wave in fashion is shaking things up. And many brands are contributing to the trend, whether it is Huemn's tribute to war-torn Kashmir through statement sweatshirts, or Anand Ahuja's Bhane which is making street style all about people.
"Streetwear as a concept gained acute realisation as we started to acknowledge and register urban life. The working class that's not necessarily elitist came into the forefront for their sartorial choices and lent a strong imprint on the conscience of designers worldwide," remarks Lecoanet.
Streetwear fashion is as democratic as it gets and is also widely also known as "democracy of fashion." This is because, at some point, everybody can afford to wear some form of it.
For Aneja and her brother Ambar, streetwear happens to be a mode of communication in the ever-evolving world of fashion. On their plan to crack India's fashion market, which they say is tricky, they tell indianexpress.com, "With India, because of the sheer number of population, there is a market for everything possible. And sometimes this market is bigger than a lot of countries put together."
Their brand started when she, along with her brother, witnessed the international fashion scene booming with streetwear. After coming back with their degrees in fashion, they realised there was a small but growing niche sneaker/streetwear community in India, which was a potential market.
Showing your true self
Designer Mark Jacobs once said, “Clothing is a form of self-expression, there are hints about who you are in what you wear." While some people’s fashion choices are strictly due to aesthetic reasons, others incorporate underlying messages in their choices of outfits.
Due to greater inclusivity and fluidity, streetwear brands have the opportunity to educate the public through the messages they send. In March 2018, Lacoste decided to speak up about threatened animal species by releasing its “Save Our Species” collection with The International Union for Conservative Nature to raise societal awareness. Lacoste notably replaced its iconic crocodile logo with 10 nearly extinct animal breeds.
It is more than just fabrics, cuts and styles. With their brands, the designers are consciously trying to have a conversation with the world, to make them think but without preaching. "From the very beginning, we have concentrated on things that we felt needed to be spoken about. We care and are not afraid to voice our opinions. We do it through our clothes," states Ambar Aneja.