Maharishi’s aesthetic mission

Looking back with Maharishi

Some of the biggest names in streetwear have been trying their hand at this futurism thing for decades now. One brand that gets overlooked in all of this is Maharishi. The remarkable looks the brand would quickly become known for starting out via an aggressive imagining of the fashion world’s future. Interestingly, the execution of this vision involves looking back.

For any observer of streetwear, it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by all of the focus on the future. From experimentation with different materials to entirely different looks, it can all seem and feel like the future has sort of arrived. Yet, it may be interesting to note this focus isn’t anything new.


Straight from the 1990s:

One of the OG streetwear brands from the early 90s, Maharishi was founded by designer Hardy Blechman. If you’re wondering about the name, its origins are no coincidence.

Maharishi means “guru” or “Great Seer,” translated from Sanskrit. Frankly, that almost seems appropriate, if it were not for the ironic way the brand was going about its business.

Blechman’s main mission, from the conception of this label, was to envision fashion’s future. Specifically, the eclectic designer wanted to realize a utilitarian take on modern streetwear.

Judging by what we see today, you would think all black and synthetic/ new materials are the order of the day. Actually, Blechman turns it back.

Eastern imagery x Military Aesthetic

The designer’s inspirations come from the Eastern imagery of decades that have long gone. Yet, this does nothing to take away from the brand’s main ethos.

Additionally, in the efforts to make fashion more long-lasting, the military aesthetic starts to look like a natural choice. In fact, Maharishi quickly gains a reputation for its flawless execution of a certain streetwear look: the Snopant.

This wide-leg piece becomes popular among some of the biggest celebrity names, including Jay-Z and Trey Songz. Blechman’s particular leaning made him a bit of a regular at military surplus stores.

The clothes he would buy were fodder for his visions of embroidery and graphics. This approach led to some imaginative takes on the “urban warrior” look. But, it also reflected a preference for camo print.

Blechman and his label spent years reinterpreting the use of this special print, opting to create a class of fashion that was both futuristic and approachable.

Forever contemporary:

At the height of its time in the spotlight, Maharishi was looked upon by the industry as a potent predictor of what was to come. In fact, Blechman was awarded Streetwear Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards back in 2000.

He was also considered quite the expert on the subject of Camo. Writing an entire book on the subject. But, as so many brands in this business, Maharishi eventually loses its hype to other forces.

A decade spent as a fashion powerhouse would fade away to newer trends. But, luckily, both streetwear and high fashion are currently obsessed with a nostalgic aesthetic that brings back pragmatism.

This is helping to bring Maharishi back to a certain prominence, evidenced by a comeback showing in 2015. Fortunately, utility-focused fashion, and Maharishi, don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.