What does an art collector turn to when they can’t actually afford art? Sneakers, of course. Just ask Dhruv Dayanand Khurana, the 25-year old designer and art buff behind India’s Almost Gods. Khurana’s encyclopedic mind may come as no surprise, considering that Almost Gods’ lineup of painterly jackets and intricately printed staples could double as art works themselves. Below, the New Delhi-based designer talks art, investment, and sleeping outside Supreme.
Where are you from, and where are you now?
New Delhi, India. I’ve lived in Dubai, Boston, and Bangkok, but now I’m finally back home in Delhi!
What is your first memory with streetwear?
I grew up surrounded by art, but going to university in the States gave me a chance to truly explore the art world head-on. I started spending time in museums, interacting with large ideas like conceptual art that I’d never encountered. This obsession grew into wanting to own art—but, being in college, works that I could afford were fairly limited. I came across the world of sneakers, and found that it was the perfect outlet for my desire to collect art. Sneakers were expressive pieces that I could not only wear to express myself, but also display in my room as art works. The details of my first interaction with streetwear itself are a little hazy, but my first real sneaker buy was ridiculously red Adidas Superstars that I haven’t worn since I got my second pair of sneakers—but they’re a pair I'll never get rid of.
If you had to compress your personal style into one outfit, what would it be?
It keeps changing, but right now it would be: white Almost Gods T-shirt, black jeans, Dr. Martens chelsea boots, and a jacket. I tend to be fairly minimalistic for the most part, except for my choice of outerwear—that tends to become the focal point of my outfit.
When did you first feel inspired to create your own designs?
The more time I spent in the world of sneakers, I found myself drifting into streetwear (I was one of the kids sleeping outside Supreme stores in 2016, flying around the country to pick up specific drops). I think, while it was the search for an expressive outlet of art that drew me in, it was streetwear’s ability to create cultural influence that finally got me hooked. Right after I graduated college in 2017, I was looking for a project that would create cultural impact. My friends and I landed on streetwear as the most natural place to start building our platform—the idea of streetwear was still in its infancy in India. We launched Almost Gods in March of 2018.
Describe your design aesthetic in one sentence, if you can.
Purposeful, powerful, crafted.
Where do you feel the most inspired?
I don't think there’s a “most inspired” for me, but there are different kinds of inspiration from very different environments.
Which living designer do you most admire?
Emily Bode, Charaf Tajer, and Gentle Monster’s design team.
What’s your biggest creative or career milestone so far?
Creative: Launching our first collection, and defining/stumbling onto our design aesthetic.
Career: When Kanye’s production team and Dani Leigh closed out our store at Sole DXB and picked up some pieces.
How do you want people to feel when wearing your designs?
Inspired, powerful, unbeatable. Almost like a god.
What would you most like to change about the current fashion industry?
Rather than change the fashion industry, I would prefer to change the mindset of the consumer—to have them understand that clothes should be seen as value pieces, to be invested in and appreciated as art.