Over the past few decades, the traditional control of fashion houses over style in the streets has been flipped on its head. The advent of the internet has allowed everyday people to transform themselves into influencers; the growing prominence of rap and hip hop has seen the acceptance of jeans, white tees, and sneakers as 'clean' outfits, acceptable from the red carpet to the runway to in da club; street style, frankly, has become a thing. Vogue's status as the bible of fashion is now all but redundant, and folks are more likely to check out a street style blawg or their Instagram feed to seek fashion inspiration than they are any of the old-hat sources.
One of the ramifications of this new way of doing things is that a substantial bunch of people have realised the fashion monopolies of yesteryear are null and void. Anybody who can type a Google search query, open a social media account, and pour a few hundred bucks into printing tees now has the ability to semi-legitimately feel that they are the next big thing. The truth of the matter, though, is that these 'lifestyle brand's are dropping like flies, waking up to the fact that consumers are only really willing to get on the hype train if there's a celebrity inviting them aboard, or alternatively (and notably more difficult to muster) some substance to the product being hawked.
Garuda falls into the latter. It's not a brand produced on daddy's allowance, nor is there a printed tee in sight. With a concept surmisable as simply to, "Do menswear better than anybody else," and the drop of 'KIT 1' the proof in the pudding, the label's here to stay.
It couldn't have come from a greater suitor than Suhail Sahrawat, a prominent local sneakerhead and member of Spicy Kicks. With a humble team consisting of just himself, close friend and advisor Hene Taufalele, photographer Keskil Alexeev, and his mother who ran a made-to-order boutique for 15 years, the quality and attention to detail far surpasses what you'll find in the latest drop of any faux-boutique retailer producing en masse in China.
Everything has weight, from the ridiculously lux fabrics, to Garuda's name, founded in the mythical golden eagle seen in Buddhist and Hindu culture, which served as the emblem of Suhail's father's Battalion in the Indian Army.
What is in a name? In this case, it parallels the inspirations which inform the label's patterns. Influenced by traditional menswear, from the gentry to the battlefield, Garuda's contemporary elements are seen in fit, material choice, and considerations of practicality.
With lofty ambitions to create a complete wardrobe for the discerning man, eventually filling every possible garment need with a variety of endlessly sick combinations, I left Suhail with one final question: what else can we expect to see from the brand in the next few years?
"As far as I know, no one has done what we have planned in the way we plan to execute it, so stick it out and we will do our best to not leave you disappointed - and ideally, amazed."
Find your kit in Garuda's garments at The Goods Pop-Up Store, 14th-20th December, St Kevin's Arcade.