Off the beaten path: homegrown indie fashion brands to look out for

here the pandemic saw in its wake disillusionment and feelings of despair surrounding the world, it also gave us many gifts in the form of newfound hobbies and honing of hidden talents. Staying home and finding worthwhile ways to be productive gave rise to a change in the way we processed many things, fashion being at the forefront.

With no more social outlets and get-togethers to look forward to, there was no impulse to up one’s fashion game. No desire to buy everything from the next drop of our favorite fashion brands. If there was a desire stronger than ever before, it was to declutter our closets, homes, and our lives. With the true essence of health, relationships, gift of life, and meaningfulness in the simple pleasures of everyday tasks setting in, the fashion industry also felt a massive change in consumer behavior. Instead of mass-produced fast fashion, there was a need for ethical and sustainable pieces of clothing and accessories that were handmade, not nearly perfect, and carried a personal, sentimental touch.

Thus, with a fresh perspective and energy to rethink and reinvent fashion, the country saw an emergence of some very phenomenal and promising indie fashion brands coming into the limelight. Indie fashion is a form of slow fashion that typically incorporates many eclectic elements. It is a fusion of retro, vintage, and heritage themes fused with modern streetwear elements to give overall uber-cool boho vibes that appeal to the atypical fashionistas and fashion enthusiasts amongst us. Each piece is handcrafted, unique, and one of a kind.

From amongst this huge surge of slow ethical fashion brands, we have handpicked the top four labels that we feel drive home some of the very best indie fashion products and accessories.

Off the beaten path: homegrown indie fashion brands to look out for

Raastah

The brainchild of Zain Ahmad, Adnan Ahmad, and Ishmail Ahmad, Raastah, which translates from Urdu as a journey or path, is one of the top-notch premium indie fashion brands of Pakistan. Raastah has gone on to become a prominent member of the global streetwear industry and has comfortably carved a place for itself as a favorite brand of some popular celebrities around the world.

Every few months, Raastah drops its exclusive volume of capsule collections featuring baggy hoodies, jackets, button-downs, jogger pants, and jumpsuits. Each stellar article is a unique piece of art that screams cool, hip, and edgy. With an almost grungy feel, the brand makes use of some of the subcontinents’ heritage crafts such as block print, embroidery, and patchwork, and places them on a modern and functional streetwear silhouette.

The brand has cashed in on streetwear’s booming global popularity and created a fashion line that, while being uniquely Pakistani, is at par in terms of creativity and craftsmanship with all its international contemporaries.

Off the beaten path: homegrown indie fashion brands to look out for

Raa-ay

The basis behind Raa-ay’s creation was Rana Ahmed Gulzar’s vision of taking comfort streetwear to the next level by experimenting with design through different multidisciplinary perspectives. Keeping aesthetics as the focal point, Gulzar aimed at sustainability as a driving force behind his work.

The highlights of the brand are their comfortable all-day wear fabrics carved into hip streetwear silhouettes. Additionally, the fun pop-up color palette and funky graphics are personally envisioned and designed by the creative head, Rana Ahmed, himself. The line solely encompasses the minimal and basic design aesthetics, with perfection in its technique and execution of its designs.

Raa-ay brings forward male, female, as well as unisex fashion lines that have become staple wear in many of our closets. It especially appeals to those who want to be fashion forward and look hip but be comfortable in their skins while doing so. From a range of tee shirts and lowers to dresses and crop tops, Raa-ay has your indie fashion closet sorted.

Inclusivitee

While churning out a range of androgynous designs that are colorful, practical, and oh-so-street-chic, Inclusivitee as a label is the first of its kind in Pakistan which designs clothes that are gender neutral and cater to all shapes and sizes. Thus their name ‘Inclusivitee’ is also their design mantra.

Off the beaten path: homegrown indie fashion brands to look out for

On offering are tee shirts, shirts, bottom wear, outer wear, and accessories in solid neons and neutral color palettes. The most popular item in their recent summer drop is the ‘cut off’ shirt, which is a basic cropped button down shirt with raw edging and a crisp collar, available in an array of yummy ice-cream colors. The ‘lungi’ skirt is another experimental yet versatile piece that scrunches up with a cord on the side, allowing you to play with its length and style it for daytime brunches as well as nights out. The personalized ‘Name-Your-Tote’ canvas tote bag with leather handles is yet another extremely popular must-have accessory that all of us have our eyes on for no other reason but it’s clean minimal aesthetics.

Naqees

The brainchild of young talented individuals, Naqees is an up and coming indie brand with a fresh approach to street wear. Their design aesthetics entail the incorporation of Eastern elements like Urdu poetry verses and South Asian crafts such as block and screen printing with Western silhouettes. Naqees’s clothes are almost nostalgic in their appeal, with a color palette of neutrals and monotones.

Off the beaten path: homegrown indie fashion brands to look out for

The brand’s winter collection had a lot of exciting articles that would become forever-keep heritage pieces in your wardrobe.

Such is the beauty of fashion pieces of brands like Naqees, that they never go out of style. Their personal handmade touch, with the fusion of evergreen heritage crafts and functional comfort-wear fabrics and cuts, makes up for designs that rise above the convention fashion philosophy of being in trend or out of trend, this season or that season. These are valuable pieces to keep in your closet forever and enjoy them in newer contexts each time you style them.

Off the beaten path: homegrown indie fashion brands to look out for

Highlights from Naqees’s winter drop titled ‘Divergence’ had many fantastic and unique pieces, such as their sherpa jackets and sweaters, white widow pasham jacket, uproar denim jacket, and their patchwork jogger pants. Previous collection saw the hot favorite green ‘Azad Suit’ and tie-dye tee shirts.