With his Aglec label, Gosha Rubchinskiy was without a doubt one of the most promising talents at Berlin Fashion Week—and most endearing (blessed with a heavy German accent myself, I’m in no position to point out anybody’s pronunciation, but how can you resist a designer who says “sweetshirts?”). Joerg Koch from the magazine 032c invited him to show his work at their office and studio, so Rubchinskiy, born and raised in Moscow, displayed a collage of his remarkable photos depicting a gang of young Russian skaters—his friends, his models and his source of inspiration. Lost boys seen with a gentle, sober eye.
In his childhood, Rubchinskiy saw the decline of the Soviet Empire and the rise of a new Russia: the tanks in the street yet also new and unknown possibilities, TV shows and magazines. “I flipped through these magazines and I just knew I wanted to be on these pages, no matter what—as a rock star or a fashion designer.”
He turned out to be a little bit of both. After working as a stylist for a couple of years, he started his own streetwear line in 2008, inspired by the fall of the Iron Curtain: sporty, basic sweatsuits, tank tops, star-spangled boxer briefs, even a spiked leather mask. “Russian kids in the early 90s did not understand subcultural codes. They mixed sportswear with death metal, hip hop with skaterwear.“
The presentations of Rubchinskiy’s collections are both theatrical and sociological, incorporating photos, movies and books. His ultimate goal is not to take over a French couture house, but to move to the heart of Russia to build a sort of cultural camp for young men to study, work out and make art. Sounds like the new black. At least to me.
Gosha Rubchinskiy’s solo show at 032c in Berlin remains on view through August 21. In Moscow, he’s also part of satellite project, 032c Workshop Report #1 (Moscow), co-organized with Baibakov Art Projects, from July 14-25.