Mainstream Indian culture in the west is often limited to kitschy or religious connotations…images of Bollywood, an Om symbol, or a many-armed Hindu deity. Umang Shah, a RISD trained architect, born in Massachusetts decided to redefine these stereotypes using the all-American medium of the T-shirt. Along with his brother Yash and a friend, Umang has created Chor Bazaar, an “Indie-Indian-fused t-shirt label”, based in Brooklyn, NY. As a first generation Indian American, Umang, a designer and visionary at heart has always been passionate about expressing his identity with relevance and integrity. His first foray at this was at RISD, where for this final thesis project he attempted at redefining Hindu architecture in the US. After his collective experiences and travels through cities all over India, Umang came up with the idea for Chor Bazaar.
At the core, Chor Bazaar is all about a fun and authentic take on Indianness with an American twist, a simple T-shirt.
What are some of the inspirations behind the designs? Look deep into this Rorschach image, what do you see?
This is a nod to the memorable signage found on the back of Indian trucks, which is partly superstitious, partly a threat warning tailgaters to stay away.
For some with a more historic flair, there’s Gadar (Mutiny). This is an homage to the Rani of Jhansi, a fearless Indian queen who took on the British during the early fight for independance. In this design the script of a famous letter written by the Rani is superimposed on the weapons of war.
There’s a range of designs available for both men and women and the T-shirts retail for $20 a piece. All T-shirts are silk screened and fashion-fit, made of vintage soft, 100% ring-spun cotton.
Get your indie-indian tee today!