INDepth: With SIX5SIX
Taking the craft of making clothes beyond the superficial, Delhi based SIX5SIX is more than just premium streetwear. Read on to get up close and personal with the brand that questions everything.
INDepth by FTC is an ongoing exploration of all the uncut diamonds that are making their mark in India's growing cultural community.
People usually bring back souvenirs and gifts for their loved ones when they move back home from another country, but with the founders of SIX5SIX, its a whole other story.
Cofounders and siblings Ambar and Avni Aneja became one of the pioneers of the world’s biggest cultural fashion movement - Streetwear - when they brought their own version and interpretation of it to India. Having studied overseas and been majorly influenced by the casual approach to fashion there, SIX5SIX was born out of the desire to bring a rather new outlook of laid-back yet fashion forward attire to the Indian masses as well.
SIX5SIX was established as a brand, initially a sportswear label, in 2018. Having played sports, in one form or another all their lives, both Ambar and Avni wanted to do something to give back to the sports community and hence came the inception of SIX5SIX SPORT.
It began with a partnership between the brand and the Indian National Football Team, and there was no looking back from there. Having made their dent in the sportswear genre, the duo then decided to pursue streetwear as a passion project. The elaborate designs pertaining to streetwear, which were initially inculcated into the product line offered by SIX5SIX sport, soon becoming an exclusive subdivision in itself - now known as SIX5SIX STREET.
To add to the hustle, 2019 came with a bunch of opportunities in store for the brand. It was only by April-end that SIX5SIX STREET launched and thus began the fast paced placement of the label on the global canvas, starting right from one of India’s most coveted fashion events, Lakme Fashion Week.
The enterprise had conceptualised a new segment, called “StreetFeat”, which aimed at featuring homegrown streetwear labels, and the brand was chosen to be a part of the newly devised segment. The team whipped up a sartorial mix of luxury and street fashion in merely 3 weeks and the drop was called WE 2.0, which comprised of relaxed fits and unisex creations.
Soon after the praise-winning stint at LFW, all it took was one shot in the dark, a cold emailing spree by SIX5SIX’s marketing and business head Ambar to the representatives at the multifaceted creative and cultural platform SOLE DXB, and SIX5SIX was given the opportunity to be a part of the event’s streetwear collective.
Displaying their creations in small festive booths alongside labels from all over the world, right from Russia, Belgium, Nigeria, the US and many more, this was the second consecutive hit for the label in terms of representation and opportunity, and success only soared high from here.
Attaining the kind of exposure SIX5SIX did in the initial founding years helped the brand achieve the much-deserved momentum in the Indian market and among the street culture enthusiasts. Being placed on the national and international radar within the first few months of inception, success came with more than just recognition in the market.
One of the more, if not most, frequently asked questions is "What or where exactly is SIX5SIX STREET?" One half of the dynamic duo, tells us about the story behind the brand, what it intends to do and believe us, it is just as interesting as the name and ethos the brand operates by.
The creative head behind all the must-cop drops from the label, Avni begins by explaining the intention. The preconceived notion of streetwear in today’s world revolves majorly around hype brands and drops, while the real essence of the term lies far away. Quoting a line from the dance movie Step Up “Born from a boombox”, the designer throws light on the importance of expression, irrespective of one’s social, economical or sociological standing. Birthing from desire to converse and create simultaneously, SIX5SIX is not just a clothing label, but also a medium of expression for the duo.
Attesting to the current socio-political climate that we live in, not just in India but also all over the world, there have been various attempts at curbing voices that strive to bring about some change, and SIX5SIX strongly opposes that. The brand factors the need of raising ones voice and channels it through clothes that are conversational and culturally conceived.
Having witnessed a rather independent upbringing, the founders operate and encourage the activity to “Question Everything”, attesting to the values their parents enriched them with - the siblings were always encouraged to never accept what the world offers, sitting down. The practice of questioning everything under the sun that did or did not feel right has seeped through and given a rather forthright personality to the brand.
Quite a few times, adaptations of practices followed outside our sphere are regarded as imitation. Adding to the aforementioned, Avni explains that SIX5SIX isn’t trying to copy something from the West and selling it for a cheaper price in India.
Everything around the world, big or small, inspires the creation and ideation process the brand follows. Take the story behind the name SIX5SIX for example. For anybody trying to work out any arithmetic logic behind it, we suggest you give a rest to the pencil and your mind.
The sibling duo was working for an English sportswear brand that they brought to India, prior to the inception of their label. While working, there were multiple collaborations involved along with the various limitations that come with license work. On a flight back home from a disappointing meeting, the founders came to a conclusion of not wanting to waste time building something that doesn’t belong to them - just like a rented house. They wanted to build their own house, thus leading to the thought of starting a label.
One of them aimlessly happened to turn around their boarding pass and noticed the flight number, which happened to be 656, and thus struck the eureka moment. The combination of the digits has no preconceived meaning or notion, thus opening a plethora of interpretations!
Talking about the creative process, Avni mentions how each and every drop revolves around something super conversational. The inkling of conversing and talking to people through the creative outlook evidently transcends into the brand’s visual language. The designs are derived from a sartorial translation of zeitgeist from various genres, encouraging topical representation and a dialogue about things of global importance.
The first ever release, “Global Traveller” came around the time when Trump talked about reinstating borders and making walls. The current generation is referred to as the “global citizens”, and a major chunk of people think beyond the concept of physical borders, thus bringing about a sense of irritation.
The second drop, also one of the designer’s absolute favourites, is called “Humanity In The Digital Age”. Revolving around the amount of time we spend on our screens and the impact of technology on lives all over, the drop featured various fits enriched by sticker details, binary digits, QR Codes on tees and many more cool features.
The brand has also been playing around with the use of phrases that catch the eye of Gen Z faster than speed of sound. While adding to the cool factor, these phrases resonate and also engage with the younger generation. If you haven’t already gotten a glimpse of the “Send Money, Not Nudes” jacket from the Trap Money drop, go take a look already! The feedback on this feature has been quite exceptional, says Avni, also adding that this is indeed becoming a signature SIX5SIX adornment.
Culture as a term, as an idea has various different interpretations. Various people, through their creative work or narrative abilities aim at making a difference or altering what exists.