Part I of the collection took inspiration from clothing worn by devotees within religious orders around the world. Part II explores beyond – citing subcultures that share devotional and ritualistic observances, a uniform, a moral code, and set of beliefs between members. Take for example a military platoon, gang, crew, or tribe – all operate as discrete subcultures within civil society. They issue uniforms, create insignia, and assign rank.
Focusing on these subcultures exposes a social fabric like that of religions. Parallels are evident at a symbolic and behavioural level, as members of each identify with a particular appearance and membership. The military uniform and gang jacket are as much a devotional uniform as the Catholic or Buddhist robe.
Insignia and badging are a dominant theme of this season. Rocker banners and badges adorn garments and are incorporated into their seam structures. Many have been left blank for a sense of ambiguity, allowing the wearer devotion to their own cause. Their placement however takes inspiration from military, biker, and streetwear applications, which share this common thread.
Silhouettes this season reference those worn by gang or crew members. The Sleeveless Stadium Jacket is most evident, with subtle references such as updating the upcycled Tri Padded MA Jacket pattern to closer resemble a moto jacket. Details such as badging, characteristic raw edges, and rough cut finishing further solidify the lineage across military, gang, or crew uniform, and the collection.
This lineage highlights the notion of brotherhood shared amongst members of military squadrons or platoons, and how it has been instrumental in the formation of gangs and crews. Youth sent off to war to defend national agendas are often exposed to death, destruction, and mind numbing substances (i.e. opiates in Vietnam and Afghanistan). Their consumption contributes to the disenfranchised state in which youth return. Gangs and crews provide a sense of comfort and familiarity, filling the void.
This season’s core colour is entitled Lama, and draws inspiration from Tibetan Buddhist monks’ habits – reinforcing maharishi’s pacifist approach to military design. Other key colours include a dusty pink taking cue from the Pink Panthers of World War II, and finally a nature inspired autumnal rust. Patterns reinterpret seasonal colours to achieve the core Temple Camouflage colourway, with Autumn, Jungle, and Night rounding out the palette. Bonsai tree shapes growing from heavenly clouds remind us that camouflage has its roots in nature.
In AW16 maharishi updates its perennial camouflage, stretching the graphic shapes for the first time. The effect further enforces the elements, as it mimics natural wood grain texture in abstract. The stretched scale is reminiscent of the spiral and interlocked patterns that occur naturally in trees.
Spiritual devotion is a mainstay that is referenced continuously in maharishi collections. It represents an ongoing thematic duality; east meets west, and nature meets technology. A number of silhouettes this season have taken exaggerated cues from the robes of Buddhist monks and the blankets of Indian Sadhus. The Mahatec Parka and Flight Jacket are made from a knitted nylon and polyester micro-fibre that feels remarkably natural to the touch, but still represents the cutting edge of Japanese technical cloths. A similar feel has been achieved with cotton through innovative finishing in the Veneto region of Italy.
Contemporary society and its complexities continue to push individuals from the norm or mainstream. A common reaction is the pursuit of differentiation or identifiability, and searching for or creating a niche. Streetwear can be referenced as a subculture to the greater fashion realm. Devotees – or customers – choose to align their appearance with a particular brand, effectively becoming a member of a crew.
Whether a religion, spiritual following, military squadron or platoon, gang, crew, or tribe, these vastly different subcultures share one foundational aspect – devotion.