Exploring The Fruit Shop At The End Of The World
With the dramatic unveiling of their newest collection titled 'Fruit Shop at the End of the World', Delhi-based streetwear label Almost Gods gave a sneak peek into the illustrious and intricate world of their brand and its vision.
An interesting title that perks ears, Fruit Shop at the End of the World has an equally interesting narrative and story behind its inception. I caught up with the founder and dear friend Dhruv Khurana to know more about the collection, the story, and what is to come for the brand.
Its been a task trying to align schedules and find time to have this interview with him, given how busy he is promoting and launching the new collection, and after several back and forth, Dhruv calls me back sounding energetic, frantic yet preoccupied.
"I have the questions in front of me, I'll send you voice recordings - I'll get on it right now!"
I internally groan at the impending rigorous task of transcribing audios but give in, and true to his word, I receive the audios within the next 30 minutes.
So what is Fruit Shop? It certainly sounds like the title of a whimsical tale, and in a sense, I suppose it is.
Dhruv begins explaining how the idea first came about, revealing that on a chance walk down the street, he came across a local fruit shop and in an off-hand way mentioned to AG Creative Director Akansha Bahal, how cool it would be if they ended up working on an AG fruit shop.
Laughing it off initially, the pair returned to their white-board that displayed the 5 other potential ideas they were working on, determined to come up with a concept for a collection that didn't go the usual designing route. Unable to get past the fantastic visual appeal that the Fruit Shop idea brought with it, the team eventually decided to do something unique and different by working on creating an actual fruit shop for the brand.
Expanding on the nascent stages of the idea, Dhruv reveals how the team began speaking to actual fruit shops in an effort to make their concept come to life, eventually reaching the conclusion to include a merch line for the Shop which led to the AG ethos and conceptual background of the brand really coming through.
Diving into researching the history of fruits, their cultural significance, the team left no stone unturned, unearthing and drawing parallels between fruit and sexual connotations (citing an example of how all over the world, historically, harvest season has been widely associated with orgies and celebrations of abundance and creation.)
Further researching on some collections by brilliant designers such as Raf Simons and Margiela who had collections centered around fruits, and Alexander McQueen's Highland Rape collection that conveyed aggressive sexuality, Dhruv factored in all elements while ideating the designs for Fruit Shop.
To really take it to the next level, Dhruv discloses how another facet of the concept came to be and really make it what it is now. The idea of "Peak Everything" - essentially having to constantly keep up, and in some cases, overcome the rapidly growing technologies, new money and media as a whole - works in tandem with the final story of the collection.
He reveals how an AI-generated press kit sent to them really put the wheels into motion, facilitating and imbibing a conversation into the narrative that spoke about the mass hysteria and commodification that exists in today's world.
To tie it all together finally, the final element of the narrative is inspired by the harrowing journey of the past year and a half with the Covid-19 pandemic, creating this sense of dystopia that the AG team effortlessly weaves into the storyline of the collection.
Coming to the actual pieces in the first drop (yes there are more to come, stay tuned!), the capsule consists of 4 looks and 6 individual pieces.
Ranging from a bold, lettered trench coat, a billboard print polo, a motif embroidered T-shirt (featuring the infamous Apple that led to the downfall of Eve, The Snake from the garden of Eden and the Christian Cross), to a tactical, nylon sweater suitable for any end-of-the-world surviving kit, the collection is a menagerie of visuals and tangible representations.
They even have a paint-by-number co-ord set made out of cotton canvas, that comes equipped with paints, brushes and a manual/instruction guide citing the number with the colour ("We leave the instructions as a suggestion though," Dhruv elaborates. "For example, if it’s a banana then we say you MAY paint it yellow but in the end it's your world, it's your decision to paint it whatever you please.")
Citing it as his favourite piece from the drop, Dhruv explains that the paint-by-number set was one of the main instigators of how the collection came to be. He further expands on how it tells a lot about the person who is buying and wearing it, because it wholeheartedly represents who they are, and what they make the piece - in a nutshell, it is a canvas that is meant to be explored freely.
Coming up with such an elaborate concept and story is no easy feat, nor is the actual manifestation of the narrative into tangible products. On enquiring about the challenges faced while designing and creating this collection, Dhruv reveals the fine-tunings that take place in tweaking the concept are exceptionally important.
In comparison to the previously released AG collections, Dhruv reveals that this one particularly stands apart in terms of the brand voice being a lot more focused. Taking some giant leaps in terms of going beyond conventional fashion storytelling, the label wants the audience to treat fashion the way one would art and media.
"If you can build a world and universe for people to step into, that’s really important. And with the upcoming drops as well, you’ll see the story unfold more and more in bits and pieces."
He further expands,
With lots more to come and the story to unfold further, we can't wait to see what the bigger picture of the Fruit Shop at the End of The World looks like. Stay tuned to this space for all future details and head over to the Almost Gods Instagram page to get a sneak peek of their first drop.