Almost Gods are the brand demonstrating that ingenuity is key. Operating from Delhi, India, the brand has grown from humble beginnings in 2018 to being frontrunners of the streetwear game, even dressing celebrities like Machine Gun Kelly in recent months.
Releasing a few limited drops per year, the brand’s keen eye for graphic prints and fashion-forward yet wearable silhouettes have earned them a cult-following and well-received collections. Their work offers an alternative to the tropes of Western streetwear that many are beginning to tire of, reinjecting vibrancy and personality into the scene.
We caught up with Almost Gods ahead of the release of their AW21 line, ‘RESURRECTION’, to find out more about their story, inspiration and future endeavours.
Your brand focuses on the interesting link between streetwear and art, a topic that even huge fashion houses are still grappling with. Would you say you’re equally inspired by these two?
When we started in 2018, the whole world was seeing fashion through the lens of streetwear, and this is still the case in India. Young fashion brands here are often dubbed as streetwear, but here the community is a microcosm of misfits: we are vibrant and coming of age. In a strange way, though, it has also insulated us from speaking to the rest of the world.
We noticed that linking our collections to art allowed us to build a connection to a global audience. The world is operating at a very quick pace, and art, whether in fashion, pop culture or the traditional institutional format, has allowed us to capture a moment and reflect it back in a way that resonates with our community.
We’ve also always gravitated towards grand artistic statements at AG. Whether they come from historical context, like in the case of the ‘Garden of Earthly Desires’ collection, or our own artistic endeavours with collections like the ‘Fruit Shop at the End of the World’, it’s especially exciting when you discover art where it’s normally dismissed. It’s provocative and stimulating.
What were the core elements of building your brand? And have there been any major challenges for you?
The core element of Almost Gods is in the name – power. But power here is intended to be hopeful. It’s the kind of power that’s youthful and euphoric. A big idea for us is also self exploration of our Indian identity; to build collections that are inspired and collaborative.
One of our biggest challenges to date is selling India to India. We’ve come to realise that it’s much easier to get external validation and to go the longer route of having the Western world recognise our work to really be validated back home. Having said that, tastes and aspirations have evolved quite quickly in India during the pandemic, especially for the growing Gen-Z community which is exciting to see.
That’s a really interesting point, and a privilege most Western brands probably overlook. Would you say that you are inspired by Gen-Z, then? Or who (or what) are some of your main design inspirations?
Each of our collections is intended to be a dissection and meditation on power. We look at institutions- both historic and present, from the Pyramids of Giza that were the center of civilisation, to today’s dynasties – mega companies and brands, who mould our ideas and identities.
As for individuals, I think we pull inspiration from a number of people from a very diverse background. We are as obsessed with the work of Marine Serre and Demna Gvasalia as we are with Elon Musk or Max Verstappen. These are individuals who have built mini worlds around them, and have imposed their reality on others, carving a new and better environment for the communities around them.
Your collection ‘Fruit Shop at the End of the World’ is said to explore ‘our current twisted reality’. Can you talk us through the key concepts in the collection, and how the turmoil of the last year directly influenced it?
There’s a paper written by former K-hole member Emily Segal. The report’s been published under Nemesis, a think-tank she founded with her current collaborator Martti Kalliala. In the report, they talk about the idea of Peak Everything – a world that’s suffering from resource scarcity, climate change and systemic collapse – quite literally everything.
We began working on this collection amidst the chaos of the initial lockdown, when Peak Everything seemed to accurately describe the world we were living in.
The Fruit Shop at the End of the World represented a glorious, indulgent respite both metaphorically and literally. It represented a simpler life that helped us stray away from the feeling of saturation we were experiencing. We could explore the resilience of hyperlocal communities. During the course of the lockdown, fruit shops all over the world became one of the few places where one could interact with their community, and there was a certain strength to that which we found quite fascinating.
Yeah, I think the community element really shines through in that collection, so it’s interesting to hear that it directly inspired it, too. We love the interactivity and youth in your designs, like the ‘Paint by numbers set’ in the same collection. How important is harnessing nostalgia in your designs?
With the Paint-by-Numbers set we really wanted to underscore the childlike vitality the Pandemic brought to us in our homes. We wanted the wearer to build a personal connection and so we even sent a set of finger-paints with each order to really just make it more of an experience and a memory.
Harnessing nostalgia is vital to the concept of Almost Gods. We’re a generation sitting on the shoulders of the giants that came before us. And as corny as it sounds, a tree is only as strong as its roots. The past can provide immense insight to the future.
Talking of trees, it seems that no brand can truly succeed without the consideration of sustainability, so it’s great to see your ‘resurrected’ line about to launch. Will this be an entirely separate line, or will these sustainable considerations be worked into future collections?
We are moving carefully with it, mostly because we want to make sure that the fabrics finally making it through production meet our quality standards.
Our current Resurrected Line makes up about 35% of our AW21 collection. We’re currently working on our sourcing and production backend to bring that number up to 50% for SS22. In the meanwhile we are also working on developing studio infrastructure using organic materials and making other aspects of our value chain more eco friendly.
It’s clear that Almost Gods know what they’re doing, and have an acute cultural awareness, as well as an international framework to catapult the brand into stardom. Like their name suggests, the brand’s existing success and clear innovation situates them as on the edge of overwhelming accolades, which we can’t wait to follow along for.
Shop their existing collections online here, and check out their socials for the next drop.
More on CULTED:
See also: SWEET TOOTH: THE TEETH-JEWELLERS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
See also: THE DIZZYING RISE OF TELFAR