Tales of Mythology & Power

Akanksha Maker | March 22, 2024 | Art

Helmed by Dhruv Khurana, Almost Gods reflects “palaeolithic emotions, mediaeval institutions, and godlike technology” in a daring and revolutionary way through its design language. With each collection, the brand blends contemporary design with Indian sensibilities of opulent craft and handwork. We caught up with Khurana recently to deep-dive into his mind and understand his inspiration behind the unique and eclectic Delhi-based label that draws on global markets of power, derived from history and mythology.


AM: Could you tell me a bit about your background and how did you decide to get into the world of fashion?

DK: I went to Tufts University where I double majored in International Relations and Economics. I explored the world of art when I was in the U.S. I was also drawn to the sneaker culture. This was the first time I saw fashion as a tool for cultural communication and conversation which initially felt inaccessible. When I came home from college, I saw that there really wasn’t anything niche like that here in India. I wanted to start those cultural conversations here, and I gradually delved deeper into fashion as the brand grew.


AM: Your brand stands out from the crowd and makes quite a statement. What is the inspiration behind Almost Gods and tell me more about its inception?

DK: Almost Gods came from the idea of exploring the concept of power. It takes inspiration from global markers of power, derived from history and mythology. We built the brand around the feeling of being “Almost Gods” which keeps it rooted in streetwear. We’ve definitely explored other aspects of fashion and want to continue to do so. We’ve drawn on Indian craft and handwork through pieces like the Aari embroidered logo tee and the Dynamis Hand Embroidered Kardana hoodie. We have recontextualised heritage silhouettes and fabrics into new designs that can be engaged with globally.


AM: Do you collaborate with artists and creators for your products – if yes, can you tell me more about this process?

DK: Almost Gods has collaborated with multi hyphenate creatives such as artist Vikash Kalra, and film photographer Shubham Lodha. We recently used Dhan Mill as a space to host and exhibit artists’ work in conjunction with the Young Collector’s Programme by India Art Fair. One of our big commission pieces was ‘Mirage’, a large canvas painting by Tito Stanley, which inspired a collection.

Tito Stanley’s highly vibrant and intensely allegorical art practice anchors itself in the artist’s lived experience. This exhibit also showcased ‘Wings of Ascension’, a copper and bronze sculpture made in collaboration between Almost Gods and artist Vikash Kalra. The work is a continued exploration of motifs created in previous textile based collaborations with the artist and weighs about 1500 kgs. It is a highly collaborative process, and we want to continue to different formats within this space.

Quintessential Almost Gods clothing and accessories; Brand driven visual merchandising in store.

AM: Why did you choose this connection between mythology and power as an ethos for your brand?

DK: The connection between mythology and power has always fascinated me. We understand power through history which we see in mythology. I always felt like there was a space for storytelling within fashion especially in the Indian subcontinent. Almost Gods brought together Indian design principles to build a strong identity around the feeling of being “Almost Gods”  and also to uplift South Asian markers of self-identity within the fashion industry. Our collections draw on these ideas conceptually in some way or the other.

The Dhan Mill Almost Gods store — (featured image) facade designed by Aaquib Wani, store designed by Studio Ordonnance.

AM: Tell me a bit about your Dhan Mill store and the conceptual philosophy behind it

DK: Dhan Mill is among our biggest projects. The space draws inspiration from ancient temples, in line with Almost Gods’ intrigue with mythology.

Perhaps the most prominent aspect of the space is the facade. I feel that the brutalist architecture really captures the strength Almost Gods explores throughout all aspects of the brand. Just like everything we do at Almost Gods, we wanted to break out of conventional store facades and create something that speaks for the brand. For a long time, we’ve envisioned a space that can house the talent, energies and creativity of our community in Delhi; This space has since become a tangible manifestation of our vision to explore, host, and play freely within the fashion landscape.

AM: What does the future look like for Almost Gods?

DK: Exciting things are in the mix for Almost Gods. We want to continue delving deeper into the world of fashion and art through culturally creative formats. We’re exploring the world of horology. We’re looking at expanding our spaces across the Indian subcontinent in cities such as Mumbai and Hyderabad. We’re exploring several formats of merchandising and aim to broaden our womenswear.

Interview by Akanksha Maker.
Image courtesy Almost Gods.

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