Dare to be different: Introducing luxury men’s streetwear brand Soul Seeker
Soul Seeker, founded by Rajan Sangha, is a men’s streetwear brand with a strong British heritage playing a pivotal role in their clothing. After following a traditional path through the education system to reach a corporate role within an insurance company, Rajan’s love of fashion encouraged him to pursue the exploration of the premium luxury market and develop Soul Seeker as a result.
We sit down with Rajan to discuss his existentialism designs, sustainable fashion and what we can expect next from the designer.
Before starting Soul Seeker, you took the traditional path through the education system and worked in an insurance company. What was the driving factor that led to you to create Soul Seeker?
The main reason for creating Soul Seeker was after graduating and starting my first corporate job, each day I felt unfulfilled and unsatisfied and realised that this was not something I could be doing for the next 50 years of my life. I found myself sitting at my desk, working long hours and felt that I actually had no desire in pursuing this career long term. I realised I would rather try something different that I’m interested in, and at least be able to look back with no regrets if I failed, rather than just sitting at my desk each day working for a big company and questioning my purpose here.
Also, with the rise of social media and platforms such as Instagram, I saw that it was easier to access consumers directly and something I wanted to explore further. So, I initially started with a side business by manufacturing products from China and then modelling them myself and selling via an online website. I then realised I wanted to take the business more seriously after seeing some initial success, but was unsure which direction to take it in.
At this stage the brand was not known as Soul Seeker and had a different name. I realised that I wanted to move away from the fast fashion model to create something more premium with higher quality fabrics and production. I wanted to create sustainable products and decided to manufacture everything here in London to represent British fashion, which then resulted in Soul Seeker to be created.
When did your love for fashion first begin?
I’ve always been into dressing well from a young age and remember going Selfridges with my cousin when we were 11 years old and coming back with polos from Ralph Lauren, which I still hold to this day. Seeing all of the different brands was eye catching at that time. When I reached around the age of 18 my fashion taste grew and developed a lot more where I would be following trends/styles more closely. I was really into trainers at one point also. The interest for fashion has continued since then and has just grown.
Soul Seeker is a premium luxury streetwear brand, where did you get inspiration from to create the brand?
I guess I was going through my own personal situation of feeling unfulfilled at my corporate job which I thought would happily be my long-term career during university. Without this I wouldn’t have felt the need to explore and create Soul Seeker or even the brand before it that I had. It really started making me question life overall and the meaning of it. For me it is around the idea of existentialism; which is the idea that we should be searching to find out who and what we are throughout life and make choices based on our experiences, beliefs, and outlooks rather than following traditional paths outlined by society.
I saw others starting businesses and being successful and I thought why not me? In terms of the actual pieces I wanted to create essentials that could be worn throughout the year, but with a slight twist. For example, sometimes I would want to wear jeans but would also want something comfortable like joggers. So, I thought a jean with a jogger fitting finished with a drawcord and elasticated waistband could be something to get around this. I do get that the pieces may not be for everyone but I guess that’s what fashion is about. I also wanted to make sure that I created pieces which I would happily have in my wardrobe and wear each day.
Soul Seeker’s collection showcases staple pieces such as denim joggers, bomber jackets and t-shirts, what is your go to staple piece from the collection?
For me personally it’s the cargo pants. They can be styled all year round and in many different ways. They’re so versatile with the adjustable leg opening that you can create different silhouettes from your look and wear them casually or with more formal attire.
The collection highlights the idea of deviating from societal norms and what is expected of us, how does this translate into the collection?
I guess the first way it translates is through the use of the bold prints seen on some of the pieces. It tries to place reminders and allows the audience to try resonate with the prints in their own meaningful ways. For example, there are quotes that relate to youth and leadership – it is there to empower young people and remind them. The other way is through the journey of the brand itself – starting off as a side project by creating products from China to manufacturing a full collection in London. The world is constantly evolving and in some sense we as individuals have to as well. The collection shows that just because you start somewhere that doesn’t mean you always have to end up there. It’s about recognising and thinking long term rather than just being short sighted.
Soul Seeker connects with the youth of today through the use of social media and distorted dreams as a theme in the collection, what is it about youth culture that inspired you to create a premium luxury streetwear brand?
I think there’s a lot of pressure for the youth of today, which is seen through the increase in mental health problems that are now being discussed in society. We are all consuming so much information each day through social media which results in comparing your life against someone else’s. I saw a lot of people around me feeling the same way I did and unhappy with their jobs/lives. I didn’t want to be that the person complaining but doing anything about my situation. I wanted to show a pathway for people that you can actually decide to do something different that you’re passionate about rather than sitting at a 9-5 job.
As a sustainable brand where do you source fabrics?
Nearly all of our fabrics are sourced across the UK. We have worked with British mills/companies for our garments where able to. Only the cargo jacket/pants we had to source from France as this was a unique French cotton that was used.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainable to me is something that is long lasting, just not in the durability of the actual garment, but also the style – something that can be timelessly worn throughout a year/season and still look good. Of course, the manufacturing process needs to try and have the most minimal impact on the environment and labour that is used. With clothes of lesser quality seen with fast fashion brands, the value that we get from our clothes is so small that we’re constantly having to replace them. Research has actually shown that in the long run people actually end up spending more money when they purchase clothes of lesser quality.
When can we expect your next collection to drop?
Hopefully soon – early 2020! We’re exploring the idea of smaller, but more frequent drops, rather than a bigger collection.
Where do you see the brand in the next five years?
Still continuing to sell clothes, with being able to have explored different styles/collections such as sportswear. Also being stocked across different retail stores. Overall though, developing into a holistic brand that is able to truly engage with their customers and wider audiences through events, workshops and a podcast to try inspire individuals to be better versions of themselves.
For further information or to shop the collection, visit soul–seeker.com.