A Brief History of Maharishi: UK's Pioneering Cult Military & Utilitarian Retro Brand | The Hoxton Trend

During the early days of Hoxton’s retail career at Selfridges, one of the brand concessions he closely collaborated with and grew fond of was Maharishi. Even in the early 2000s, Maharishi commanded a high price point, exuded immediate status, and fostered a cool underground cult following. These qualities propelled the brand to become one of the most prominent military-inspired brands, maintaining relevance and influence for over 30 years in the industry. Allow us to introduce you to Maharishi.

 

Maharishi was founded by Blechman in 1994, taking its name from the Hindu term for guru. Prior to this venture, Blechman had immersed himself in the army surplus trade. He swiftly rose to prominence in London’s streetwear scene, renowned for his enigmatic persona shaped by Eastern influences – even gaining notoriety for his unconventional practice of consuming his own urine

His signature creation, the combat trousers, characterised by their wide silhouette, low waist, and adorned with a distinctive Chinese dragon motif on the calf, swiftly became a coveted “it item” and a favorite among celebrities for almost a decade. Dubbed “snopants” by the brand, they were sported by the likes of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston in the US, and by UK icons such as girl band All Saints and Victoria Beckham.

Widely credited for popularising combat trousers as a fashion staple, Maharishi’s designs were hailed by Arena Homme Plus as “the most copied pants of the decade.” Blechman’s impact was further solidified when he was honored as Streetwear Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2000. 

Born and raised in Bournemouth, Hardy’s passion for fashion stems from his upbringing surrounded by antiques and vintage items. His fascination with old things was sparked by his father, who owned an antique shop, instilling in Hardy a love for collecting. Amidst his diverse collection, Hardy found his true passion in old military clothing, laying the groundwork for the line he would later establish, which continues to serve as his greatest inspiration.

Hardy’s profound connection to camouflage is rooted in his appreciation for nature. Growing up in the coastal town of Bournemouth, nature was abundant, but upon moving to London to pursue his ventures, he found solace and significance in reconnecting with nature’s essence.

The name “Maharishi” translates literally from Sanskrit to “great seer,” embodying Hardy Blechman’s visionary approach to clothing. Maharishi, on the streets, symbolizes a uniform for everyday life, drawing from diverse Far Eastern influences and unifying them through camouflage patterns from around the world. Hardy Blechman’s collaboration with Italian textile manufacturer ITS Artea, known for their work with brands like C.P. Company and Stone Island, led to the development of revolutionary fabrics, marking him as a pioneer in material innovation.

By blending army surplus with Japanese and Indian influences, Maharishi has crafted a distinctive visual language, promoting core values of pacifism, ethical production, and an appreciation for camouflage history. Navigating the realm of streetwear, Maharishi celebrates the beauty of utilitarian design while advocating for a more conscious approach to fashion.

1