Brand Introduction: Maharishi


Today’s era of information overload and rapid-changing trends presents a major challenge for those looking to start their own brand, especially within the realm of streetwear. With its originally anti-establishment and DIY roots, streetwear brand productions have typically started relatively hands-on and small scale, allowing many to cater to smaller subcultures. This ease of access to unique aesthetics, alongside streetwear’s exponential growth in recent years, has allowed its wide variety of styles to become more widely adopted by a larger range of consumers, and thus garnering many more creatives looking to leave their mark. With so many others hoping to take their own slice of the pie, it takes a very unique brand vision to really set yourself apart from the crowd.

A strong vision requires a strong stance, and this means tackling the ever changing important topics of the world. When looking at many of the notable and influential streetwear brands of today, you can find collections discussing gender norms, social inequalities, environmental sustainability, and even war. However, having a unique offering is only one factor to help sustain a brand’s relevancy. What then guides a brand into a longstanding future, is an adherence to their brand vision. Time is a testament to a brand’s relevancy and longevity, and very few brands have the ability to stay compelling over the years, yet remaining true to their same brand philosophy long since their inception. Today we take a look at an internationally renowned streetwear brand which has stayed true to its roots and unique vision for decades, Maharishi.

Founded in 1994 by Hardy Blechman, Maharishi heavily focuses on exploring the dualities of man and the universe in many parallels. These explored dualities are exemplified in many separate aspects of Maharishi, and helps guide the brand to achieve its goal of detaching disruptive pattern material (commonly known as camouflage) from its negative military connotations, promoting pacifism, and encouraging ethical production.

Blechman has been deemed a “champion of camouflage” and his love for it is exemplified in his most comprehensive work; an encyclopaedia of camouflage titled “DPM - Disruptive Pattern Material, An Encyclopaedia of Camouflage: Nature, Military & Culture”. This work compiles over 6000 images of camouflage used around the world and follows each camouflage’s history. The encyclopaedia focuses on the history of camouflage under a naturalist theory lens, and presents DPM as a form of abstract art, showcasing the art of concealment in nature. Blechman’s work provides evidence to the reader of the historical naturalistic uses for the patterns prior to its adoption in the military in hopes that readers will learn to detach camouflage from its military connotations.

The duality and relationship between nature and technology is also exemplified in the brand’s textile products. Maharishi’s ethos of respecting nature is apparent in their fabric choices. The brand originally started selling clothing produced from ethically produced hemp fabrics, and as the brand grew, so did the level of respect it returned. Maharishi continues to embrace the relationship between nature and old technology by sourcing natural fibres, organic cottons, as well as upcycled military garments, but also looks at the relationship that can be bridged with new technology such as waterproof hemp which can make a garment more versatile, worn more often, and in turn extend a product’s lifecycle.

Maharishi’s unique vision for their products stems from their practice of “pacifist military design”. This sounds almost contradictory, but the brand injects this DNA into their products quite effectively. Maharishi’s designs seek to blend both military and civilian, looking to offer technology and design aspects frequently seen in the military, and infusing them into contemporary menswear items. This practice acts as a demilitarization of sorts. By spreading military designs into the hands of everyday people, the shared design elements start to feel more commonplace in the industry. Maharishi’s offerings of exceptionally well designed products will also urge their consumers to appreciate how military aspects have already blended so well into current everyday products.

Military-inspired designs have been a mainstay of streetwear since its inception, but what really sets apart maharishi’s products is Blechman’s Eastern design elements. Inspired by his trips to Southeast Asia as a child, Maharishi blends Japanese and Indian influences into their products. You can find these in their kimono products and embroidery throughout their different products portraying tigers, dragons, or cranes, and other Chinese zodiac animals in their annual lunar collections. This duality of east and west, and merging of different cultures is something that has been involved in. This exploration brings Maharishi’s products to another level to really set them apart.

By exploring these dualities of nature and technology, military and civilian, as well as Eastern and Western design, Maharishi has created a truly unique vision for their products. Sticking to these values for such a long period of time can be difficult. In 2003, maharishi wasn’t paving the way anymore, and Blechman had lost his drive to continue his design work, leading the brand to discontinue their womenswear line. However Blechman’s dedication to his work as well as the resurgence and growth of streetwear in recent years has guided maharishi back onto centre stage.

To truly showcase what makes Maharishi’s undeniably special, we’ve sourced an iconic offering available to purchase, which exemplifies the core values of the brand. Maharishi’s collaborative Medicom Kubrick is a perfect example of each of the dualities explored.

Each individual Kubrick figure is designed to help further the brand’s goal of promoting camouflage and pacifist military design. The figures are enshrouded in unique disruptive material patterns, and are designed to stand on its head in the Shaolin headstand, a pose favoured by Blechman himself. The pose represents balance, harmony, and subversion, and acts as a metaphor for Maharishi’s unique lens on the world, urging their customers and fans to take the opportunity to look at things differently, especially with their pacifist designs. Each figure highlights an important pattern to Maharishi’s history and heritage. You can find each Kubrick design available on our web shop here as well as accompanying pattern descriptions below!

Bonsai Forest

This disruptive pattern is a perfect example of maharishi’s eye for blending east and west influences. The Japanese inspired bonsai camouflage depicts bonsai tree branches growing from heavenly clouds, and is combined with the longstanding UK military pattern.

Bonsai Step

This second Bonsai-inspired disruptive pattern focuses on camouflage as an artform. The infill is based on Peruvian Fellata patterns inspired by shamonic journeying on Ayahuasca, and sacred geometric law, and is applied to 1960’s Soviet “step” camouflage used on paratrooper Kamuflirovannyy Letniy Maskirovochnyy Kombinezon (KLMK).

Desert Hex

This camouflage exemplifies maharishi’s balancing act between nature and technology. Originally developed by the US Natick Soldier System Center as the “Desert Night” camouflage, this pattern was intended to provide protection against near-infrared parts of the electromagnetic spectrum to confuse night vision devices. Maharishi uses this inspiration to create their own pattern composed of hexagons, referencing the Star of David, as well as other elements of nature such as honeycombs, snowflakes, and various crystals. Maharishi also adds their own touch with the use of negative space to create images of clouds, adding to the element of nature.

Futura splinter

Designed in collaboration with the renowned visual artist Futura, the Fu-Splinter pattern was created for maharishi’s water-themed Autumn/Winter 2001/02 collection. The pattern is inspired by the Polish 1950s “splinter” design with the rain strait motif throughout the pattern to match the collection theme. The pattern also incorporates Futura’s infamous Pointman character and personal tag, as well as maharishi’s temple logo. This pattern showcases maharishi’s footprint in the streetwear industry, having worked with a long-time giant as Futura, and even being a point of inspiration for his work with the shared passion for camouflage and “the desire to conceal movement, position, and identity”.

mhi Sikh

In 2001, maharishi launched their mhi label to have a greater appeal to the streetwear market. This mhi Sikh pattern was based on the Indian military’s “palm frond” pattern, and was designed in India by Blehcman alongside Showgato Chakraborty. This pattern showcases maharishi’s approach to pacifism. The pattern incorporates the om symbol to represent peace, yet also a kicking man silhouette. The kicking man icon was designed by French graffiti artist Brendan ‘Kaywan’ Backman and used in earlier Maharishi collections, and showcases Maharishi’s exploration of the duality of pacifism and military violence.


Inspired by the coveted Vietnamese gold tigerstripe pattern, Maharishi blends other Eastern influences such as dragons, as well as hexagons, and elements of earth, ether, fire, water, and wind represented by sanskrit symbols to showcase their respect for nature, and inspirations for their products.