The hype surrounding Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy is nearing peak levels as his latest collection is just hours away from being unveiled at Pitti Uomo later today. In what appears to have been a coordinated effort to get tails and tongues wagging as rapidly as they were for his last offerings, we were also very recently treated to a teaser of an upcoming exclusive capsule by his muse for Dover Street Market.
But before all the fuss and hullabaloo flared up again, 032c magazine sat down with fashion's new talisman for one of the lengthiest, most personal and in-depth conversations we've seen yet. Rubchinskiy opens up on a wide range of issues including, why he refutes the "post-Soviet youth" tag, so-called Russian nationalism, Western culture, how he came to be a fashion designer, and why youth is vital to his creative output.
Here's some snippets.
On the explosion of Western iconography in Russia:
When you’re a child, you don’t really understand what is Western and what is not. But it was a touch of this unknown world. I remember the clothing markets from the beginning of the 90s. All the traders started bringing these very lush products from abroad, mainly branded goods.
... and how he uses it in his work today:
I try to incorporate these memories, but our aim as a brand is never to copy something that already existed before. It’s not a museum. We want to catch a moment, and with all the 90s hype, this is the moment. The Tommy Hilfiger logo is just a game. You take a reference from the past and fill it with a meaning from today. It’s not about the 90s.
On so-called Russian nationalism:
Being in Russia at the moment, I wouldn’t call it nationalism. I’d call it the rise of patriotism and community. It feels positive. The pressure from the outside only benefits the young people, because they feel better about their country. Of course, all the fights in the press where people are divided into “us” and “them” are just bullshit. But on the other hand, there is a great international unity of young people. I think young people don’t give a shit about politics. They don’t listen. They don’t believe in it.
On the "post-Soviet youth" tag used to describe his work and the meaning of his designs:
I think it’s a cliché invented by the media. They can’t come up with a name for the energy that comes from this part of the world. This new generation does the same things as youth from around the world. They are the same guys who Hedi Slimane photographs in California. But with us, they just call it “Post-Soviet Youth.” I hate tags and I hate borders. That’s exactly why we used the hammer-and-sickle in the latest collection. It was pure irony.
... and when asked the follow-up question, "So you think this post-Soviet idea is imposed from the outside?"
Yes, completely. Long live communism! Put on your hammer-and-sickle t-shirt and go out skateboarding!
Head over to 032c magazine to read the interview in full.
After you're done, here's the stories behind some of Gosha's best graphics.