Weather they design t-shirts, skirts, sneakers or accessories, these few local underground brands are conceptual AF. Some of them are owned by individual creators, related to fashion only by their way of expression or general interest. Others do it to stand out or to make a living, while the rest of them started with a small business idea that gradually turned into a concept worthy of a museum.

We made a list of Romanian under the radar apparel concepts that put the art in the cart (or something different with similar effect!), and these ones are only the first few out of many to come.


The genius duo formed by Anca Adina Cojocaru and Irina Constantin are not considering  their initiative as being a clothing shop or a brand, but more of a “interdisciplinary project generating unexpected hybrid art objects, sometimes functional”.

Imaculatura, founded in 2012,  suits the term “conceptual” the best. It’s latest art-objects exhibition – “Lines and Strings” – was in June 2017. “[Imaculatura] is mindless of the imaginary frontiers between domains. It doesn’t really care of anything but personal, sentimental, emotional truth.

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While not that unknown to be mentioned in this list, notorious even in some circles, Urzeală is for the underground wear, what’s Subcarpați for the Romanian folklore.  Oana Ivan, founder, says: „Urzeală binds all generations together through folklore and aims to remind us stories and local legends”.

The brand started its acivity in 2013, and since then it made a purpose out of popularizing the idea of ”folk reboot” („Restart Folclor” in Romanian) and small, honest, native-born business.

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Vika Tonu

Another conceptual piece of jewelry comes fro the Bucharest-based jewelry designer and illustrator Vika Tonu. While her approach covers exclusively accesories, and it fits apparel only by association or collab projects (such as the above mentioned Imaculatura, NOON, or local fashion designers), the incredible works of Vika had to be mentioned on this list.

The artist’s first rings series (Dimiourgia) was the one that started everything. Since then, a parade of outwordly collactions followed, from which I name a few: Untamed Skin, Urban Geometry and more.

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The recently released apparel concept with at least a bizarre approach. The whole system gathers around the idea of Kitsch (Prost Gust, in Romanian). Quoting from their website: “When Kitsch comes back home to its mother, it eats whatever there is, sleeps in the midday and drinks moonshine with its dad. […] Kitsch’s mom has humor, and so does her son!”. Confused? Well, it’s not your fault.

The originality of Mahala Wear comes, above all, from mocking the low IQ-ed, tasteless, low-class, suburban bad-neighborhoody kind of mixed atmosphere, specific to some areas of the country. This being said, you can now wear a t-shirt that laughs at Romanian’s bad habits.

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Bad Jubies

This brotherhood of style and kinkyxistential illustrations is topnotch. Bad Jubies Apparel is bringing Sartrowski’s artworks in offline, displaying most of his stuff on t-shirts and hoodies. Who said that you can’t wear illustrations!? The initiative was founded in 2016, and since then it brought the innovative fashion-digital sketch combo to an unprecedented mainstream.

Their talent in delivering nicely designed clothing pieces while flipping you the finger is spot on. “We’re in the clothing business like this is like the clothing business we do clothes mainly like yeah” – genius!

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Romanian writer based in Cyprus. Co-founder CVLTARTES. Author of "Hailbringer: A Romanian Folktale"