“Almost Gods” is an Indian luxury streetwear brand created in 2018 from an idea by Dhruv Khurana, a young fashion designer. In his creations and collections Khurana wants to express his emotions and tries to explore deeper concepts.
Hello Dhruv! You are the creative director of “Almost God”. Tell us something about you. What is your background? How was your passion for fashion born?
In 2014, I was a sophomore at Tufts University in Boston double majoring in International Relations and Economics. Prompted by my architect and artist grandmother, I wanted to take the opportunity to go deeper into exploring the world of art that America uniquely offered. Over the course of the year, I found myself spending a large amount of time in museums, galleries and shows- falling head fast in love with abstract impressionism and then eventually with conceptual art.
The idea that the thought behind the art work could be the art itself was something I found incredibly thrilling. As I saw these works take the physical form of party balloons filled by the artist sold as “Artist’s breath” or Hirst’s dead shark symbolise “The conception of death in the mind of someone living”, it sparked the excitement of the 5 year old within me.
Wanting to be more deeply connected to this world but unable to afford any art- I found myself taking a different route. Having stumbled on to them in a YouTube video, I discovered the trend of sneakers and streetwear- that were slowly finding their way into the spotlight. Over the span of the next year- I became THAT KID flying across the country to pick up sneakers, sleeping outside Supreme waiting for the newest drop and making myself pocket money reselling “grails”.
What I didn’t realise was that I was falling in love with the idea of context. The currency of cultural conversation- which found its voice both in conceptual art and in sneakers. The creation and trading of these contexts was not only a form of play which I found exciting, but also it was highly technical, and most importantly- it was culturally/ economically/ mentally impactful to a degree I hadn’t considered before.
Eventually streetwear became a gateway into the broader world of fashion and independent design. The breadth of storytelling and scope of what was considered important design widened for me as I began the process of self educating and understanding the kind of work designers were putting out globally. After graduating from college in 2017, I was fairly confident that I wanted to be connected to this world in some way- which eventually lead to the launch of ALMOST GODS in 2018.
“ALMOST GODS chooses to give second life to “dead” materials through its RESURRECTED FABRICS program”
When you create the garments do you take inspiration from something in particular?
While it’s natural that influences of India seep into what we do, we generally look into readings, videos, content from across the world and try to derive historical and present context for what we are addressing. In the case of the Fruit Shop collection we looked into the historic traditions in ancient Egyptian where harvest was celebrated with week-long orgies and tried to capture that feeling with the dystopian mythology we had created around the collection. We also referred to a lot of McQueen’s “Highland Rape” collection in looking at inspiration for the rawness it brought with it.
With the new collection, we consumed documentaries on disasters- trying to find the voice of power within what moulds landscapes. I got obsessed with volcano and the pure power of creation and destruction they posses. That led to a large amount of our imagery which makes up the first drop of our collection.
Additionally while designing our pieces we try to be as conscious of our impact on the environment. In order to prevent unnecessary depletion of resources through the creation of new fabrics, ALMOST GODS chooses to give second life to “dead” materials through its RESURRECTED FABRICS program. The resurrected line therein explores dead-stock and re-cycled fabrics as the central tenet in its design.
Therein, when we create- we look at a world of information, and references and construct the collection methodically over time.
Have your Indian roots influenced your way of doing fashion? I mean, in the usage of colours or materials but also in some characteristics you add to your creations
I think it’s only natural to have our work informed by our environment. Coming from India, impacts not only our design philosophy but also our choice of materials.
Whether you look at graphics, such as those on the Drought Tee, which are informed by the “Kikar tree” present in deserts in India or at our take on traditional sillouhettes such as our upgrade to the “Utility Lehenga”, Indian design ideas are ever present in what we create.
In regards to our Resurrected fabrics platform, wherein we explores dead-stock and re-cycled fabrics as the central tenet in our design: we explore many heritage Indian fabrics such as thick Jacquards that have traditionally been used to make sofas and curtains in North Indian homes. We also look at adopting technology to reduce impact on land waste in India by converting old water bottles in landfills, into new polyester yarn to be used as “r-PET” in our garments.
“The goal has always been to build a narrative around the idea of power”
When you started to work to this project, what is the “goal” you prefixed at the beginning?
At the heart of this project, the goal has always been to build a narrative around the idea of power. What does it truly mean, how does context mould its impact and who gets to control it.
Ever since I can remember, I have been obsessed by structures of power. As a child I remember staring at the Pyramids of Giza for hours on a visit to Cairo day dreaming about what the symbol meant. I remember my first few steps into Harvard University’s yard and the thrill of the institution’s mythology. At university I studied international relations theories of power relations between countries and dissected Kanye’s work though a foucauldian lens.
With ALMOST GODS I wanted to delve deeper into these conversations. To discuss power, its influences and the idea of who is allowed to wield it. Those discussions have ended up taking ideas such as sustainability, the idea of up cycling dead fabrics into something usable, feel like a powerful act rather than simply a conscientious one or re-contextualizing heritage silhouettes and fabrics I have grown up with in India into new use cases that could be engaged with globally, to force reconsideration of textile initially and hopefully over time the place of India within a global narrative as thought originators rather than simply foll