The past few years in fashion have been largely fueled by nostalgia, with both luxury and high street brands alike looking to the 90s for effortless, comfortable but confident styles that were born from subcultures like hip hop, skate and surf. We are in an era which prioritises the past: baggy t-shirts from the 90s, dance music from the 80s, platform shoes from the 70s…the list goes on.
Supreme, Nike, Off-White, Adidas and Stüssy are now mainstream staples and global emblems that we’re bombarded with every day either via billboards or your now teenage son’s most coveted t-shirt. So sure, streetwear is fashionable, trendy, hip and hype — but is it interesting anymore?
Rastah is an urban label from Pakistan that was launched by Zain Ahmad, Ismail Ahmad and Adnan Ahmad in 2018. The word ‘rastah’ in Urdu means ‘path' — fitting for a brand that is taking streetwear and pop culture on a political and cultural journey. The brand launched VOLUME III in March, which transports you to the magical and misunderstood 'Golden Age' of Pakistan — the midcentury period before the censorship of the 1980s.
Rastah further weaves modern western silhouettes with eastern motifs, referencing Mughal-era paintings as well as block-print designs adorned on denim jackets, hoodies, and joggers. Every piece in their collection has been carefully crafted by artisans from Pakistan, inspired by the decadence and eclecticism of metropolitan Pakistan from the 50s to the 70s.
The collection also experiments with sustainability by using leftover and upcycled fabrics in its handwoven jackets. In an interview with i-D, the brand said that it is their resolute intention to shift what Pakistani design is often confined to, by applying traditional artisan aesthetics, fabrics, and techniques to Western silhouettes. “For too long, Pakistan has been viewed as a cog in the global supply chain, and nothing more. We have never been at the forefront of fashion,” Zain says. “This is about changing the narrative and taking things into our own hands. And we want to be unapologetic about it.”
The label’s Instagram not only shares unique pieces from their collection but also celebrates Pakistani culture by featuring stories and backstories of historic and influential artists and artisans that have inspired their pieces. Shop their new collection Volume III here and scroll the gallery above for a look at the collection.