Russia’s New Wave

Posted by | October 23rd, 2015

Russia’s New Wave

As Moscow Fashion week starts its engines, we chatted with a selection of designers, all of whom are bright voices changing Russia’s fashion scene. This inspiring talent brings fresh and strong perspectives with the spunk and sparkle of folks untarnished by the pressuring pace of fashion. Featured with our pick of shining new faces, take a look at the 8 flourishing names that are sure to be on repeat.

Photography Emmie America for
Interviews by Emmie America
Text by Steven Yatsko and Emmie America
Retouching UNO Post Production
Style Lena Ushakova
Hair Arnika Veto
Makeup Tima Leo for Inglot Russia
Stylist’s assistant Yulia Kirushina

Kris Vlasova and Masha Raeva @ NEW Scouting & Management
Alexander Goretsky and Karolina Lubovitskaya @ TANN Model Management
Polina Oganicheva @ NIK Management
Yana Parkhomenko @ Grace Models

Alisa Kuzembaeva


Karolina Lubovitskaya

Born in a family of architects, and having received a BFA from the Moscow Architecture Institute, Alisa Kuzembaeva, is interested in clothing as shapes and structures. “There is always one visual that inspires the whole collection, and the story gets built around it,” Alisa explains. “I create like an architect. It is important for me to create an overall structure, and then adjust it with details. I feel like it’s a builder’s way to look at work.” Among architecture her influences comes from decorative design and, unexpectedly, physics experiments, clarifying, “Not from a scientific perspective, but simply the aesthetics.” Kuzembaeva calls her FW 15 collection her most poetic one, describing her muse as someone looking for truth, hence the laser cut pants, separated like bars, and busy patterns mixed with beaded detail, meant to represent confusion on your way to the goal.

After completing a graduate diploma from Central Saint Martins, and a masters, both in Fashion Design, from the Royal College of Art, Alisa decided that she had been in school for too long, sparking a move back to Russia where she got involved with Ukrainian organization supporting young designers “MORE DASH”, and has been participating in Kiev Fashion week since.

Cap America by Olga Zeen

Polina Oganicheva (Left) and Yana Parkhomenko (Right)

Cap America’s designer Olga Zeen credits her obsession with modern art as her main influence, “There is always an art movement that shapes my thought process for the collection, be that the sharp lines of constructivism or the idea of turning an everyday object into an art piece like the dadaists did.” Her first collection payed tribute to the dadaists by using American flag print fabric, describing the choice as a “call for freedom.” Growing up, Olga recalls America always having a negative connotation, but to her, America always invoked thoughts of her favorite concept in art and design–functionalism, saying, “It is important for me to make clothes that are not only conceptual, but also functional. For me a women has to look beautiful, and the clothes have to be flattering.”

Olga’s designs as often graphic, minimal and abstract, which goes along with her claim of seeing the world “as if it was flat.” Inspiration for her F/W 15 collection came from statues and drapery from distant, but vivid, memories of classical plaster sculptures from art school, explaining, “These sculptures made me fascinated about turning fabrics into sculptural shapes and people into statues.”

J. Kim

Masha Raeva

Jenia Kim designed her first collection at 17 and has been producing two a year since. She experimented with many aesthetic directions until, during a trip to New York, accidentally walked through Chinatown, which ignited her obsession with Asian culture. She is 100% Korean, but was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and has lived in Russia since the age of 12. “Moving to the suburbs of Moscow was a really hard time for me – I was the only Asian in the whole town, so kids didn’t like me much. Russia is conservative in general, but Moscow is a whole new world compared to where I was. So I started hanging out with all the “bad kids” and saw some really scary things happen.” For Jenia, art became her respite – “drawing is still like meditating to me, and fashion design was what pulled me out of that lifestyle.”

Now with a strong vision Jenia is fully committed to her label and has significant plans for the future. Korean national costume and culture have been a source of inspiration to her few most recent collections. “I feel like when you mention Chinese or Japanese traditional costumes one has a clear picture, but with Korea it just isn’t the case. Even the contemporary Korean designers rarely use traditional costume as inspiration, and I just think it’s so beautiful!” The FW 15 collection is about Korean national dances, hence the abstracted appliqués of people wearing ribbons to imitate the same long white sleeves present in the collection itself. “Koreans immigrant in the USSR were constantly kicked out into the Middle East so their priorities were always practical.They didn’t think too much about art or culture, hence a lot of tradition has gone missing. I want to do my part in changing that.”

Liza Odinokikh

Kris Vlasova (Left) and Yana Parkhomenko (Right)

Making clothes for her dolls and begging her parents to send her to art classes, Liza Odinokikh knew that her heart belonged to fashion design from an early age. Soon after
graduating from Saint-Petersburg State University of Technology and Design, she was invited to participate in Aurora Fashion Week, where she has been showing since.

Each one of Liza’s collections is inspired by a fictional character, usually one from Russian folklore or literature. Pushkin’s Tsarevna Lebed and Baryshnya-Krestyanka, bedtime-story characters familiar to every Russian child, are amongst those on her list. “I am a Russian designer. I was born in Russia, and I am proud of it. I love Russian culture, it’s an undeniable part of me,” Liza says.

Forties’ silhouettes and military patterns and colors inspire Liza’s FW 15 Collection. She defines her girl as “intelligent, feminine and fresh-faced”. Odinokikh characterizes Liza’s label as an innovative “mix of styles, textures and prints that create a more romantic and feminine take on streetwear”. Liza does indeed combine unexpected elements, be that a heavy wool skirt with rose embroidery, or hand-woven pin-back buttons. Liza loves mixing delicate materials and hand-made decorations (which she often makes herself) with casual trends. When asked to point out a real life muse, Liza chose her clients—“the women who wear my clothes, their compliments and comments are what inspires me the most” explains the designer.


While design duo Nina Neretina and Donis Poupis are already long-term fixtures within the Russian fashion scene, it’s that same reason that the inclusion of their brand NINADONIS seems most appropriate. Since its launch in 2000, NINADONIS has been delivering avant-garde and quintessentially Russian designs and has been included in i-D’s book of the 150 most influential designers in 2003. The designers continue to produce work that remains cohesive and contemporary with a simple objective, “Continue enjoying [their] creative work process,” says Nina and Donis. That non-materialistic drive and casual artistry is refreshing when too often vision is sacrificed for profit.

The Russian designers describe their homeland as the foundation of their creations, “Anything else that we find interesting or that catches our attention gets layered on top. Anything that reflects our aesthetic and universal views. That mix can be seen in our moodboards.” Those moodboards are always included in the brand’s lookbook. FW 15’s included the Michelin man Bibendum, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Grace Coddington and Randle McMurphy from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” depicting designers’ path to the collection.

Tigran Avetisyan

Alexander Goretsky

For menswear designer Tigran Avetisyan, inspiration comes from the internet. “My work is about social media, celebrity cult, exposure and overexposure. It’s fashion about fashion. It’s less of a criticism [of these trends], and more of a reflection on the world.” Currently Avetisyan is interested in labels that once were highly impactful in the fashion world and popular culture, but then suddenly disappeared. “I am fascinated by making something out of nothing, and then into nothing again.” Tigran’s FW 15 collection “The World is Flat Again,” features an abundance of gothic font and velvet, “paying tribute to Juicy Couture”.

He attended Central Saint Martins for product design, but was disappointed in the program, as “it focused mostly on functionality, whereas [he] was more interested in the decorative aspect of design.” Tigran decided to switch majors to Fashion Design it being the strongest major at the school. “I chose menswear over womenswear because I liked the limitations, and the taboos around it. They are something for me to think about and play with.” Now he is based in Moscow, but by choice. “I’m definitely more interested in expanding internationally but doing so out of Moscow. While it’s hard to make it here, it is also where I create best.”

Walk of Shame

Polina Oganicheva (Left) Karolina Lubovitskaya (Right)

Designer Andrey Artyomov is a veteran stylist of Tatler and L’Officiel Russia, and one of the visionaries behind such brands as Alexander Terekhov and Alena Akhmadulina. Three years ago he started his own label “Walk of Shame” under the belief that modern fashion design is more about styling. Andrey tells us, “I think people want simple clothes they understand, but presented from an edited perspective. I’m not reinventing the wheel.” Andrey filters the world through a prism of the 90s, his early years, citing Russian MTV as an influence, “People tried because suddenly there was freedom, room to breath, so they went all out. There was more art, more ideas and more sincerity. In today’s fashion scene in Russia it’s very hard to go against the masses and speak out your individuality although Moscow is a place of great contrast and is a definite catalyst to my inspiration.”

Andrey stumbled upon the suggestive name of the brand by accident, “A friend made it up when introducing me at a dinner. When I asked her why Walk of Shame, she said because it’s you – your parties, your burning youth in Moscow. And I loved the name for its ambitious nature. The aesthetics of a woman coming back home is really poetic to me,” Andrey explains. Artyomov designs fur coats that look like hotel robes, pajamas to be worn out, and takes many silhouettes from menswear. His FW 15 line takes notes from the 70s together with his own personal nostalgia, saying, “It’s a mix between Ali McGraw and my childhood math teacher who would tuck her hair into the turtleneck, and wipe the blackboard with her sweater too passionate to get an eraser. It’s all about the muses for me. Always.”


Masha Raeva (Left) Alexander Goretsky (Right)

“My whole life so far has been a series of accidents, and I couldn’t be happier with it”, says Dasha Selyanova, the designer behind the up-and-coming unisex brand of streetwear, ZDDZ. Originally electing to study literature, she graduated with a degree in graphic design and later picked up a degree in fashion, bringing her to London. “I just realized I didn’t want to study letters for the next six years,” says Dasha with some irony–her most signature designs so far have been text prints. “I was never really into fashion, but the idea of giving new context to my work by placing it on a (female) body was fascinating,” she explains.

ZDDZ produces oversized silhouettes, bold letter prints, and combine unexpected fabric choices, drawing inspiration from advertisements, fonts, and prints Dasha comes across in everyday life. “I don’t believe in high and low culture. I love bad graphic design. I love the idea of turning something tacky around.” Illustrated in her workwear-catalogue inspired FW 15 collection, Dasha takes rough fabrics and tight sweaters and labels them with ambiguous phrases like “work hard” and “relax”. “It’s clothes for me,” Dasha says, “ZDDZ is mostly inspired by my youth. Growing up in St. Petersburg during the rise of hip hop culture, surrounded by skinheads and drugs we dressed a certain way to feel special, to stand out. Hanging out with hip hop kids I always felt like a dude stuck in a female body, but looking for something slightly nicer to wear. Maybe that’s why now I make womenswear that looks better on men.”

2 Comments to “Russia’s New Wave”

  1. Shubhantaj Yadav says:


  2. Peter says:

    Insightful and interesting connections being made here between fashion and culture; art, architecture, street culture. Simple, functional stunning photographs which reflect the origins of the clothes and generously allows them to be the art as apposed to the picture. Great work all round !