Many people think the streetwear scene is becoming too commercial. They are right to a certain extent. None of the big brands are unknown and streetwear has become a huge culture – it is hard to describe it as niche nowadays. It began as a counter culture movement but has become arbitrarily mainstream. This was not how it was supposed to be. Originals who built the scene were wearing Supreme and Palace before you even heard of it. For me, that is the essence of the community. Helping smaller designers achieve their dreams and simultaneously expressing yourself though clothing. A mutual, unspoken agreement between yourself and the brand is made.
You don’t need Bape, Gosha, or Supreme. There are many under the radar brands that allow you to truly be you, and express yourself via the medium of fashion. Rather than succumbing to the pressure to dress in the most hyped brand’s tracksuits, there are independent brands that are holding up the culture itself and preventing it from becoming almost ‘too hyped’.
Our weekly focus on some of our favourite under the radar streetwear brands is helping you once again break away from the fray. It also provides some of the most talented designers a platform to show off their work and hopefully turn you into a fan.
This week we speak to Suril of Acia Studio, who have recently been making waves with not only their clothing lines, but also the written content and interviews on their blogs. Most recently they spoke to one of the members of the PAQ crew.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’d class myself as a creative from the UK. I wouldn’t strictly say i’m a designer because I think that titles are restrictive for creative output. Society puts too much emphasis on a person’s title or job role and uses that to judge them either consciously or subconsciously.
Who is the most influential person in your life?
I am always inspired by new people I encounter throughout my life but those I look up to most are my parents. Seeing their come up and what they’ve achieved against all the odds is always what I look to for motivation.
I’ve seen the little box rooms where they used to live and heard about the struggles they faced throughout their lives and it always amazes me how much they’ve achieved.
Tell us the most interesting thing about yourself.<
This is a difficult question for me so I opened it up to my friend who said: “you don’t really do anything that’s usual”.
How has your interest in fashion shaped who you are today?
Fashion has led me to discover new cultures and sub-cultures and put me in touch with like-minded people where I didn’t think there was before. Fashion plays a big part in any culture and more so now but really brings people together. even within fashion you have so many different avenues and lifestyles that are based around what people wear. Overall though it has shown me individuality and people going against the grain of society which I really value and it’s given me that confidence to be myself.
Why did you want to start a streetwear brand?
Although my brand takes elements from streetwear and holds similar values, I don’t consider it a streetwear brand. Streetwear has been a big part of my life and you used to have to be in the know to be rocking certain brands and there was a whole culture behind it you know? It was more than just a cool t-shirt with a logo, it was a way to instantly connect with someone as it was likely you’d be in to the same things and have a similar lifestyle. I feel like a lot of that has been lost recently – you can tell from from a lot of the youth you see wearing it now. I’m not saying it’s strictly a bad thing as obviously it’s good for brands to be gaining this exposure and making that money after working so hard to build their reps but it’s lost a lot of it’s authenticity and what made it special.
That’s what i’m trying to bring back with Acia. Bringing that whole original lifestyle element back which is more than just clothes. It’s providing that sense of belonging to those people who felt like they didn’t belong anywhere before, who thought they were weird or different.
When did you start Acia?
I’ve always wanted to launch a clothing line. It started with a failed attempt at a t-shirt brand when I was around 14 but then I just put it on hold for a long time. I graduated from uni last summer and which finally gave me the time I needed to focus on the brand and have it running. I’ve been dabbling with the idea of Acia for about 3 years now but only really focused on it for around 8 months. I launched Acia in March this year.
How many collections do you have?
I don’t currently have any collections for Acia. I’ve got a collection designed and ready but I need more funding to get it rolling. For now i’m releasing products every now and then to raise that money to produce my first collection. I’ve got some new stuff coming for summer.
What distinguishes Acia from all the other independent brands out there today?
One of the main features is that it’s a unisex brand, it aims to eliminate titles and discrimination from society and view everybody as equal. Acia is based off underground culture ranging from music (hip-hop, grime, house, techno, future beats), raves/parties, art and lifestyle. I’m trying to build that community and bring together like-minded people with similar interests. It’s more of a lifestyle. Also, Acia is all cut & sew. There’s too many t-shirt brands popping up now and I have a strong focus on quality and cuts, I think this is the only way for longevity in the industry now but really it should be an underlying principle for all ‘brands’.
Supreme often include controversial products such as the money gun (make it rain gun), the infamous brick, and even motorcycle helmets as a bit of a fuck you to consumerism. What’s the hidden or visible message that your brand aims to get across?
Well Acia means thread in latin. Looking past thread being used in clothes, Acia is the thread weaving through and holding together the different aspects of the culture I mentioned before e.g. music, art etc.
What are your views on the current streetwear scene?
Oh man, there’s so much to say here. It’s definitely changed. Streetwear has become huge now which could be due to the internet but it’s been adopted by everyone and turned in to a trend rather than the culture it is. It’s been adopted by fast-fashion retailers and high-end brands which has led to it losing it’s authenticity. I’m not saying this is a bad thing as obviously everyone wants exposure and recognition but it has meant that the true values that used to set streetwear apart have been lost. It used to be an alternative culture to the mainstream but it’s moved far away from that now and it’s being turned into everything it set out not to be. This isn’t the fault of the brands but it’s gained such vast popularity that brands and retailers can’t pass on the opportunity to capitalise on it.
I’m not mad that it’s popular but it’s frustrating for those who have really been about it for years cus it’s like it’s been taken from us. You can’t even buy the stuff you want now without going to extreme lengths of planning or paying way over retail but when you look at who’s wearing the clothes now and the people associated with the brands it’s not worth it. It’s the kids that were wearing Topman and them things there last year and are now jumping on the next ‘cool’ thing without even trying to understand the scene and this is what puts the older consumers off. It’s lost the authenticity. However, I think streetwear will always be more than a trend but even if it dies out, the scene has definitely been damaged.
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What are the ultimate aims of Acia, where do you want it to be in 5 years time?
I want my own store and the resources to keep producing collection after collection. I want the culture around the brand to grow and bring back the authenticity of the underground that I believe has been lost through streetwear. I don’t care if it doesn’t appeal to everyone, that’s not the aim, it’s for those that are really about being themselves and not just being cool or whatever. I want to encourage people not to be afraid to show who they are and feel they need to change themselves to fit in.
Overall, I want Acia to be a platform to help up and coming creatives with real talent gain the exposure they deserve in all industries. There’s too many platforms hyping up parody brands and gassing people for doing nothing but post a picture of them in the latest hyped clothing when there’s real talent going unnoticed.Links to your stuff?