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Moscow vs St Petersburg: Which City is Better?

Moscow vs St Petersburg: Which City is Better?

In this series we’ll be getting involved in the age old debate between Moscow and St Petersburg. Exploring their local brands, nightlife, food, transport and events, we aim to help you decide which city is better.

Whether you studied the Soviet Union in history lessons at school, or even if you’ve only heard of them because your team played Zenit or CSKA in a Champions League qualifier, there is no denying that Moscow and St Petersburg are the two biggest names in Russia. Each is host to its own history, cultures and way of life.

Moscow is Russia’s capital city and is home to just under 14 million people. Due to its vast size no two days in Moscow are the same. The capital is sprawled with art galleries, museums, concert halls, parks bigger than some English cities and ridiculously sized shopping centres – all thanks to our old friend, capitalism.

It is a real 24/7 city, with events taking place practically everyday and clubs and bars that are open until the early hours. Home of the Russian Government, the city centre is packed with huge brutalist multi-story buildings, mixed in with classical orthodox churches and high-rises that make Big Ben look like a pocket watch.

St Petersburg canal and church

St. Petersburg, previously named Petrograd and Leningrad, is Russia’s second largest city and former capital city (Lenin moved the Government to Moscow in 1918). Located just a few hours from Finland and Eastern Europe, St. Petersburg truly has a European feel.

Unlike the gigantic highways of Moscow, Petersburg’s city centre is lavishly decorated in Neo-classical and Gothic architecture that wouldn’t look out of place in any Western European nation. Petersburg’s proximity to Europe has well and truly had an impact and the culture and society of the city, with the youth being more aware and open to the western way of life.  

Both cities boast artistic and cultural identities that are changing by the day. Here at KollektivMSK, we have all lived in both cities and have always debated which is better. We recognise that both Moscow and St. Petersburg are two incredible cities, with a rich history, mixed cultures and an amazing night-life.

In this series of articles we are going to put these two goroda (cities) head to head and let you the reader judge for yourselves. We will be looking are varying themes including local brands, music and nightlife, food, transport and events.

Part 1: Homegrown Brands

In the first article we will be comparing the cities’ homegrown brands. Of course, everyone has heard of Gosha Rubchinsky as Russia’s leading figure in streetwear, but the two cities are also home to a number of other brands that are taking the fashion scene by storm.

Moscow

Kruzhok

kruzhok scarf
Image: Kruzhok

Our first brand out of the capital city is Kruzhok, a streetwear brand that started out as a photojournal but is now a fully fledged member of Russia’s streetwear scene. They’ve taken part in collaborations with Copa90 during the World Cup and Moscow’s Space Museum (@mmkspace). Offering boxy fits with high quality materials, Kruzhok should definitely be part of your collection.

Paradiz

paradiz
Image: Paradiz

Another Kollektiv favourite, this Moscow brand takes inspiration from a number of different themes, including soviet propaganda, business magnates and they even experimented with an eclectic theme in their most recent collection. The brand has a true local vibe, operating out of a squat in the centre of Moscow and it’s worth checking out the New Future collection by Paradiz.

Felix Malikovich

moscow zoo sweatshirt
Image: INstagram/Gosha Bergal

A somewhat enigmatic brand coming out of the capital city. Felix Malikovich declined our offer of an interview, and gives little information regarding their background. The brand’s high-quality pieces are highly sought after in the fashion world, and are donned by some of Russia’s most well-known celebrities. Some of Felix’s most notable pieces are his “РЕП” sweatshirts and tops (Rap in cyrillic text) as well as the Moscow Zoo range.

Omanko

omanko world cup
Image: Instagram/Omanko

Omanko was started by a 15 year old Artem Ermilov, who decided to drop out of school in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and move to Moscow. The brand started selling their pieces in Moscow’s KM20, one of the country’s leading streetwear shops, which led to a huge spike in popularity. The brand has since shared collaborations with The North face, Adidas, Nike, Levi’s and even IKEA. Omanko hosted a pop-up workshop during the World Cup 2018, producing a number of football strips in collaboration with Adidas and Nike. Their pieces are extremely exclusive and sell out within seconds.

Sputnik 1985

sputnik1985 sweatshirt
Image: Instagram/Sputnik

One of the most well-known names in Russian streetwear outside of Gosha Rubchinsky, Sputnik1985 utilises bright colourways and cyrillic graphics that have become a staple in Russian’s wardrobes. Their collections focus on the nuclear/industrial aspects of the country’s history, as well as experimental artistic designs that wouldn’t look out of place at the Tretyakov Gallery – a museum of fine and modern art in Moscow’s city centre. Sputnik are one of the pioneers of Russian streetwear, and continue to push the barriers with their unique designs.

St Petersburg

Volchok

volchok sweatshirt and cap from lookbook
Image: Volchok

Originally opening as a second-hand store in Petersburg in 2014, Volchok has become another leading figure in Russia’s streetwear scene. Their presence has been established not only in Russia, having opened outlets in Kiev, Paris and Barcelona. Volchok’s image is one that depicts monochromatic designs with cyrillic slogans and rave-inspired visuals. The brand regularly hosts techno nights that are a true soundtrack to their dark and grungy character.

Mech

Image: Instagram/Mech

Having recently joined the Kollektiv repertoire, Mech are one of Petersburg’s key streetwear brands and are well known across the whole of Russia. Their collections focus on our relationship with nature, often using pastel colourways and rugged outdoor materials. Their pieces are high quality and hand printed by the brand themselves, giving them an edge on other brands. Read more about Mech and get hold of their SS19 Collection here.

Anteater

anteater russian brand
Image: Instagram/Anteater

Anteater was founded in 2007 by Nikita Yarutskiy. The brand is one of Russia’s oldest streetwear brands, with their iconic anteater logo being recognised nationwide. The brand has bought together the key aspects of Russian youth culture through their use of bright colours and graffiti style prints. The brand has collaborated with the likes of Saucony, and is sold across Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Crime x Punishment

crime x punishment
Image: Instagram/Crime x Punishment

The final brand from the cultural capital is Michael Sidorov and Leonid Vilner’s Crime x Punishment, otherwise known as CxP. The brand’s name is based on Russian writer Fydor Dostoevskiy’s work Crime and Punishment, with quotes from the book printed on a number of the brand’s collections. CxP’s clothing is actually part produced by prisoners from Correctional Institutes in the Leningradskaya Oblast and the city of Izhevsk, a move that both solidifies the brand’s motive as well as providing work to Russian prisoners.

Conclusion

It is safe to say that both cities are hotbeds for creatives that take inspiration from their cultural and historical surroundings. The modern medium of fashion is used to broadcast such inspirations. The brands featured in this article have pushed through the norm and created some truly one-of-a-kind pieces, going beyond all too common orthodox images and cyrillic slogans on t-shirts. Moscow’s homegrown brands of course have an advantage as they attract more lucrative collaborations and funding through the capital, but St. Petersburg’s creatives are far from ignored and continue to help the Russian streetwear scene evolve and compete with those on the world stage.

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