The artist and fashion designer on growing up in Moscow
and where history, fashion and global skate culture collide.
melancholic punk legacy.
I have to be honest: when we first shake hands I momentarily mistake Gosha Rubchinskiy for one of the models straight out of his current Autumn/Winter collection. It turns out to be the man himself, and I dare say we have a mutual understanding of what growing up in a post-socialist society leaves you with. I’m not only referring to the slightly melancholic punk legacy, but also to this certain feeling of rebellion, inherent sympathy for revolution, new beginnings and, inevitably, collective pride.
singularity in a standardised world.
Gosha Rubchinskiy has been on the forefront of the Russian creative scene since 2008 when he came out with his first fashion collection. Since then his universe has become a totality of fine garments, narrative video and subtle photography, a miraculously honest mixture of Russian iconography, skateboards and youthful romance; the kind that can only be described as global and culturally specific at the same time. Rough, but gentle. Aggressive yet poetic. Need a hint? Go for patent PVC pants, a black and white sweater and a red coat. Perhaps try some careless youthful lust for life on for size, while walking the streets of Saint Petersburg or Moscow. Go for what inspires you and keeps you alive. Go for singularity in a standardised world. Is anybody else thinking about boarding the first plane to Russia?
We meet up with Gosha at the BLACK Comme des Garçons store in Berlin where his current men’s collection and photographs are being presented through January 2014.
What is the strongest piece in the current collection for you?
I really like the black and white sweater because it’s a mixture of opposites. It has to do with Kazimir Malevich and Sex Pistols at the same time. I also like the idea of a unisex collection – it’s about youthful romance, the girl wearing her boyfriend’s sweater, a shirt, whatever. Imagine it happening after a crazy clubbing night, when she just puts on whatever she can find in his closet.
You said yourself that the idea behind your current collection comes from revolution. Given that you tend to distance yourself from current politics, is your creativity also a result of believing in “We’re Russian and we did something right”?
Yes. This collection is about strength, about a “revolutionary guy”. For me it has always been about starting something new, and also about breaking old rules.
In this current lookbook you can actually see a lot of religious elements or traditional symbols which will remind you of what it means to be Russian.
How culture-related is fashion nowadays?
I like to mix Russian cultural symbols with, for example, the American skateboard scene. Right now it’s all about the Russian youth who appreciate our cultural elements, but at the same time they live in this new world that is a mix of global cultures. Right now being a young person in Russia does not differ much from being a young person in New York or Los Angeles, which is why I always try to draw from our historical legacy. It’s what makes us different. In other words: I want to show the world what it means to be Russian right here and right now.
And you do it well. What was it like growing up in Moscow?
The nineties in Moscow were an amazing time, and it’s difficult to get the point if you didn’t experience it. It was about discovering new music, new videos, new trends. Now it’s different, but I am always on the hunt for that blend of the old and new.
The great thing is that we are currently undergoing a global nineties revival, and I try to combine this new thing with the way I experienced that era. For me it’s about the crazy rave parties and new discoveries.
Do you skate?
A bit, but I started late. When I was a teenager I studied at an art school and I didn’t really hang out with the skater kids. I was painting and living in my own universe; it was only after I started shooting the skater kids that I became interested in skating, but I’m far from being a professional.
So why skate culture in particular?
Simply because it’s currently the most strongly adopted culture by Russian kids. It unites. If you skate, you can be an artist, a musician, whatever. It is interesting to see something that connects so many different profiles.
Can you give us some insider tips for Moscow? Where to go, what to do?
RODNYA bar or the Entuziast café , but mostly it’s about walking around and discovering some great museums, such as The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts .
Thanks for speaking with us Gosha!
Gosha Rubchinskiy’s Autumn/Winter 2013 collection is available at BLACK Comme des Garçons, Linienstrasse 115 in Berlin.
For further stockists visit: gosharubchinskiy.com/info