Gosha Rubchinskiy has wooed the fashion industry in recent seasons with his post-Soviet take on streetwear. His garments are everywhere from high-end boutiques to street style galleries - but is the hype justified?
Streetwear as we know it was birthed in America; in its 30-year history, brands from the States have mastered the art of urban gear and taken it global. While brands have emerged worldwide, streetwear remains a predominantly American sport, with international labels failing to find the same success as their peers from the States. Recent seasons, however, have seen Moscow designer and photographer Gosha Rubchinskiy strike gold with his distinctly Russian take on urban and skatewear. The Muscovite's gear is regularly spotted in street style galleries the world over, and his collections are stocked in prestigious accounts from Dover Street Market to Tres Bien.
As with all designers and brands gathering momentum these days, Gosha's successes come with a level of skepticism. Is the hype justified? I believe so.
Image via Gosha Rubchinskiy
To begin, Rubchinskiy's collections bring something to the fashion-streetwear crossover genre that we've never seen before. While past generations of streetwear designers - whether high-end or low - have drawn influences from American culture, Gosha designs with a distinctly Russian accent. His collections channel the cross-cultural chaos that erupted in his country following the collapse of communism - a time where Western imports flooded the previously insular nation. Rubchinskiy presents a unique take on streetwear that cares little for current fads and trends; his collections are wildly colorful and filled with awkward, ugly-but-beautiful quirks - think oversized metal buttons, mismatched patchworks and colossally boxy cuts.
Alongside his collections, Gosha's photography - as seen in his 2012 book Transfiguration, limited sets of prints or on Instagram - shines a light on a part of Russia that we rarely see in the West. Avoiding the clichés of fallen communism and vulgar luxury that taint most people's preconceptions of the country, Gosha's Russia is a place of thriving subcultures and unusual-yet-familiar aesthetics. The country's youths clearly love skating and sportswear - but their look is quintessentially Russian, with socks tucked into tracksuits and shoelaces used for belts.
Image via Gosha Rubchinskiy
While Japan's streetwear brands innovate using pre-existing American aesthetics and Europe's high-fashion designers approach streetwear through an abstract lens, Gosha produces clothing that always retains a staunchly Russian flavor. By crafting an aesthetic that keeps one foot firmly planted in his beloved country, Gosha Rubchinskiy is proving that streetwear is a truly global language now - one that doesn't need to look to America for inspiration anymore. Let's hope we see more international designers following his lead in the future.
For more on the designer, check out our interview with Gosha Rubchinskiy in issue 10 of Highsnobiety's very-own print magazine.
The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Highsnobiety as a whole.