Gay Spotlight: Fashion brand Vulgar challenges gender politics and clothing taboos

Akshay Sharma’s clothes want to make a statement. Sure, the name says it all, but there’s a rebellion brewing through clothes that are meant to elicit a response. The NIFT grad isn’t interested in sugarcoating his pretty bow-packaged gender-fluid iterations, crafted at the tertiary level of what’s deemed acceptable, but wants to make a point – which he does loud and clear. . Established in 2020, the brand has quickly gained popularity for its revolutionary and fluid attitude towards fashion.

Sharma’s nostalgic future apparel is wearable, aware of industry shifts, as they come in the form of some of the season’s hottest trends. Sculpted bodysuits? Check. Strategic cutouts – the lovable style icons of fashion week parties are obsessed with? Check. “It’s taken me years of research to finally present silhouettes that are really flowing and not just oversized, you’ll see a lot of structured clothing that’s hard to break down the line between masculinity and femininity. And that’s what makes Vulgar different. what my competitors are offering right now,” says Sharma.

While the message behind the graphic symbolism of the words that splash its designs is politically derivative, the collections serve pure fashion. There is something to be said for the way Sharma articulates her ideas. Much like the late designer Abloh’s debut at Off-White, whose signature mark on products became a defining moment in fashion, Sharma has a clever understanding of how he hopes to communicate his emotions to fabric through his approach. direct and bold symbolism on clothing.

“Vulgar’s logo is a maze of targets. It is a metaphor for how people with different identities and ideologies are targeted when they do not adhere to socially acceptable moral conduct. The maze in the target symbolizes freedom and liberation when one finally passes through it,” Sharma explains. With his debut collection, ‘Intellectual Punks’, he takes this overall theme forward by highlighting terms with some level of explicitness stamped on t-shirts in an attempt to open up a dialogue about uncomfortable topics and sexual taboos. .

Fluidity is at the heart of the label, where Sharma hijacks genre-assigned design codes to unpack and question its heteronormative origins. “I’ve always been fascinated by fluid fashion. It goes back to my childhood when I used to play dress up with my mother and my sisters. My family, especially my mom and dad, have always supported and encouraged my gender expression and there has never been a dull moment. I remember my mom choosing my fashion week looks. Even in fashion school my project was about androgyny, it was always part of me,” Sharma recalls. “I would say the biggest push was when my mother passed away and I wanted to put my grief into art and Vulgar came out of it,” he adds.

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