In a recent interview with WWD for the launch of his new collaboration with Diesel, Gosha Rubchinskiy discussed the allegation of inappropriate contact with a minor made against him late last year. Adrian Joffe, president of COMME des GARÇONS International and chief executive officer of Dover Street Market, also commented on the claims.
The allegation against Rubchinskiy concerned private discussions he had with a 16-year-old aspiring model, during which the designer reportedly pressured the boy into sending explicit photographs of himself. Rubchinskiy has firmly denied the claims. The boy shared screengrabs of their conversations on social media, which were subsequently shared by social media fashion commentators Diet Prada.
During his conversation with WWD, the Russian streetwear designer said his creative aim is to connect different youth cultures, and that casting for models via social media was normal practice for his brand.
“Over the 10 years that I have been working on my personal and professional projects I have collaborated with a variety of models and creatives from all age groups and nationalities," Rubchinskiy said. "For me, the people themselves, and not just the aesthetic attributes, are always important, which is why I communicated with many collaborators directly.
“I never hid the fact that we did our castings through Instagram, and discovering new talents from around the world through this platform was part of the strength of our shows and projects."
The 34-year-old designer said that, in hindsight, given his growing stature within the fashion industry, personally contacting potential models was "naive."
"Going forward, I will ensure that this process is carried out by my team, in a conscientious way, which was always my intention," he said.
Rubchinskiy said there is no truth to the allegations of inappropriate conduct and that "false accusations do not only harm myself, but also my team, friends, collaborators, and models who appear in my work."
“I am aware that there have been, and continue to be, many problems in the modeling industry, and I certainly do not want to contribute to these issues in any way,” he added.
Joffe backed Rubchinskiy, telling WWD, "We continue to support Gosha due to the complete lack of any evidence that he abused his power or did anything illegal. There is hardly any more real street casting these days. Many, many people use social media for casting now. We believe that one should be innocent until proven guilty, and that proper fact-checking should be the standard procedure. The lack of it is really dangerous and as abhorrent as the abuse of power itself.”