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“We were trying to aim an attention of as many people as possible to the issue of east—west relations” says stylist Stacey Batashova. Stacey, and a crew of like-minded Moscow creatives, recently took it upon themselves to highlight the soaring inequality gap in their home country, and the result is this editorial, dubbed “Bytovki.”

Russia, and Moscow in particular, is home to many ambitious construction projects, which make the country a magnet for migrant laborers entering the country from impoverished nations, hoping to send remittance payments back home to feed their families. Workers coming from Africa and central Asia can expect little in terms of housing and income, and are often met with prejudice and hostility from local Russians.

Many end up living in repurposed shipping containers, which this shoot uses as a setting for some of Russia’s favorite designer labels — Dior, Versace, Gucci and the like — which were shot in the confines of the so-called “bytovki” crates, juxtaposing its squalid conditions against the incredible luxury that Russia’s 1% enjoys.

“By using these locations as a background for luxury brands we wanted to show the gap between different parts of society” Batashova explains. “The model is called Parfaith, he was born in Burundi in East African, and, and now he lives in Moscow, works here and studies law.”

Here’s the story behind the bootleg adidas sneakers that were worn by Russian special forces.

Words by Alec Leach
Freelance Writer/Editor/Consultant

Alec Leach grew up in Brighton, England, but now lives in Berlin