Throughout Kollektiv’s time in Russia, we’ve been to some crazy events, worked with some of the country’s best streetwear brands, and met some of the leaders in the Russian street scene as we know it. In celebration of everything the scene has to offer, we’ve rounded up our A-Z of Russian Street Culture. To kick things off, we’ll be starting with letters A-I, before updating over the coming weeks for your comprehensive guide to the people and places who define today’s Russia.
A – Anton Lisin
First up in our A-Z of Russian streetwear culture, we start with a Kollektiv favourite, Sergiev Posad’s Anton Lisin. Added to the Kollektiv in February, Anton’s designs draw heavily on the imagery of Russian folklore and the Orthodox Church which were so close to him growing up. His fascination with the dark aesthetic of black metal music adds an extra layer of bleakness, and the predominance of black, white and red give Anton’s latest collection a striking Gothic feel.
A – Afisha
Afisha is a “What’s on” guide for all the hottest cultural events across Russia. The site lists the latest films, exhibitions, concerts, clothing releases, and even restaurants across the country’s major cities. It also hosts its own yearly summer festival, Afisha Picnic, at Moscow’s Kolomenskoye Park, bringing the likes of The Cure, Mura Masa and Pusha T to the Russian capital.
B – BICH
Another Kollektiv favourite, Moscow brand BICH don’t take themselves too seriously, and they don’t think we should either. Even their name epitomises this; a bilingual play on words with several layers of meaning, it translates as “scourge” in Russian, while also standing for Byvshiy Intelligentniy Chelovek (Former Intelligent Human) and, yes, doesn’t sound a million miles away from a certain English word.
B – Brandshop
Another letter B to mention is Brandshop, a high-end fashion store in Moscow that has achieved status as one of the top streetwear and fashion outlets in Russia. Often the first store to receive the latest drops, Brandshop is the pioneer in streetwear in Moscow and beyond.
C – CodeRed
CodeRed is regarded as one of the first streetwear brands to hit Russia. CodeRed as a clothing brand appeared in 2006, when the brand’s creator Yuri Kadantsev developed a bag for spray paints following the success of his Moscow graffiti journal Ulitsa. The brand recently teamed up with Moscow grime collective United Gang to produce a capsule to celebrate the one year anniversary of the group.
C – Chop-Chop
Chop-Chop – Chop-Chop is an international barbershop chain that was founded in Moscow in 2011. They are regarded as the leading chain of barbershops in the country, with expert professional barbers offering the finest trims and styles this side of the globe. Chop-Chop has since expanded internationally into Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Cyprus and Czechia.
D – Dom Kultur
Dom Kultur opened at the beginning of 2019, and has quickly become one of the most popular bars/restaurants in Moscow. Hosting a range of events from 80s disco nights to its legendary weekend hangover brunches, Dom Kultur attracts a diverse clientele to its low-key cool location 5 minutes away from Sukharevskaya metro station. Brands such as Volchok, part of the Kollektiv roster, have hosted collection launches at Dom Kultur, in conjunction with Jack Daniels Flame Whiskey.
E – Enthusiast
Another favourite of the Kollektiv team, Enthusiast is hidden away in a small courtyard off Stoleshnikov Lane, the heart of Moscow’s fashion scene. Described as a “motocafe”, the cult bar hosts live music nights at the weekend, and is the perfect place to have a quiet beer or cider midweek. The bar also does breakfasts and lunches. Enthusiast also boasts a range of clothing with their own classic designs that are recognised city-wide.
F – Felix Malikovich
One of Kollektiv’s brands, Felix Malikovich is one of the most enigmatic clothing collectives in Russia. When Kollektiv asked ‘Felix’ whether ‘he’ could give us a short description of the brand, we were met with the reply ‘Hi bro! Unfortunately not.’ The brand produces high-quality streetwear that is often sported by Russian celebrities such as ex-Serebro singer and model Katya Kishuk and rapper Jacques Anthony.
F – Faces and Laces
Special mention must also go to Faces and Laces, an online directory of Russian brands with an established reputation across the country. Its annual festival, traditionally held in Moscow’s Gorky Park, is the event of the year for the Russian streetwear scene and an unmissable fixture in Moscow’s summer calendar.
G – Gosha Rubchinskiy
This name needs no introduction in the streetwear scene. Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy is probably the most well-known name in Russian fashion. Born in Moscow in the twilight of the Soviet era, Rubchinskiy takes his inspiration from the fall of the Iron Curtain, and the prevalent Orthodox iconography across Russia. His recent work has included a range of sporting apparel during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and a collaboration with Diesel under his recent creation GR Uniforma. Despite recent controversy, Gosha Rubchinskiy remains one of the most important designers to hail from mother Russia.
H – Husky
One of the most controversial figures in Russian music today, Siberian rapper Husky has made waves with his strong anti-establishment stance and increasingly enigmatic persona. Jailed in 2018 for performing to his fans on the roof of a car following a cancelled concert, he has grabbed headlines well beyond the Russian borders. Check out his latest release, Kill Me, with Kazakh rapper maslo chernogo tmina below.
I – Instinkt Svobody
We wanted to fit one of our favourite brands, Saint Petersburg’s Mech Clothing, in here somewhere, but M was already assigned! Instinkt Svobody, however, is the name of one of their most recent collections and, translating as Freedom Instinct, it encapsulates the brand’s whole ethos. With streetwear influenced by an outdoorsy vibe, they bring together the countryside and the cityscape in each of their collections and truly live by this phrase.
J – Jam Bar
Behind an unsuspecting iron door next to a travel agent on Profsoyuznaya street, Kazan, lies one of Kollektiv’s favourite night out spots in the whole of Russia. Jam Bar is a small location in the centre of Kazan with a huge courtyard/car park out the back. We first encountered this bar when we moved to Kazan in 2016, having been enticed by a grime night, which turned out to be a regular lively event. The venue hosts Kazan’s youth every Friday and Saturday night, and became a hub for meeting interesting and unusual people during our time in Kazan. If you’re ever in Tatarstan, make sure you drop into Jam Bar for a £1.25 “vodka” and orange juice!
K – Kruzhok
A fan favourite, Kruzhok began as a photo journal that evolved into one of the most forward-thinking brands in Russia. Kruzhok has landed itself some high profile collaborations in the past few years, such as a continuous project with Moscow’s Museum of Cosmonautics, and collaborations with Russian internet company Yandex and Toyo Tires. The brand prides itself on using high quality materials for all their clothing, and challenging the norm in fashion, opting for baggy fits and bold colours and designs.
L – Lizer
Despite his early beginnings training to be a freestyle wrestler in Dagestan, Lizer has become a huge name in the rap scene in Russia. His style fuses modern rap with indie rock and a mid-2000s emo vibe, most notably with his latest song “Слёзы”(Tears) featuring Lil Aaron. Lizer is not afraid to show his emotions, with much of his discography focusing on heartache, including his most popular songs “Отпусти” (Let me go), “Сердце” (My Heart) and “Между нами” (Between Us).
M – Moscow Legend
As a part of United gang, the self-described bass community from the country’s capital, Moscow Legend is a grime DJ and producer paving the way for a new generation of UK-influenced Russian artists. For more info on him, take a look at our recent interview with Moscow Legend here!
N – Novaya Gollandiya
In a city not short of cool public spaces, Saint Petersburg’s Novaya Gollandiya (New Holland) is perhaps the most interesting of them all. Constructed for Peter the Great’s navy in 1719 and named after the Dutch shipbuilders who worked there, this man-made island was closed to the public until 2011. Now home to a wealth of independent cafes, shops and brands, and playing host to a multitude of events in summer, Novaya Gollandiya is a must-visit on your next trip to Russia’s northern capital.
O – Omanko
Omanko was started by a 15-year-old Artem Yermilov, who decided to drop out of school in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and move to Moscow to grow his business. Shortly after, the brand started selling its pieces in Moscow’s KM20, one of the country’s leading streetwear shops, which led to a huge spike in popularity. Omanko has since shared collaborations with The North Face, Adidas, Nike, Levi’s and even IKEA. The brand hosted a pop-up workshop during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, producing a number of football strips in collaboration with Adidas and Nike.
O – Outpac
We also wanted to give a shout out to Outpac, arguably the first concept streetwear outlet in Kazan, which has recently opened its second store in the city. Outpac sources quality international streetwear brands and footwear, bringing a touch of style to the Tatar capital.
P – Paradiz
Another Kollektiv favourite, Paradiz represents the bohemian undercurrent of Russia’s streetwear scene. Through references to underground art from the Soviet era to the present, the brand delves into Russia’s past to explore the concept of a new future for the country. Designed and produced exclusively in the Russian capital, Paradiz’s clothing boasts a proudly local character. From Soviet comic books to supermarket magnate Sergei Galitsky, it draws upon diverse and unconventional sources for inspiration, resulting in memorable designs filled with references to Russian pop culture.
P – Powerhouse
Operating out of an old mansion in Moscow’s historical Tagansky district, Powerhouse describes itself as a “gastronomic bar with a rich event programme”. Kollektiv has witnessed all types of genres on show at Powerhouse, from jazz nights to deep house to grime and dubstep raves. The bar’s unique vibe is perfect for any occasion, with high quality dishes being served from their restaurant in the daytime, and two bars with a dance area for the nighttime. The bar also has a quiet back garden, the perfect place to relax and grab a cocktail in summer.
Q – Q Lockdown Sessions
During lockdown, many DJs and artists have taken to Instagram Live to keep spirits high for fans across the world. One such DJ is Moscow’s own Robin Axford, an English DJ who has been pivotal in the rise of UK garage and jungle in the capital and has hosted huge events such as Tupik, an outdoor rave at Moscow’s cultural hub Hlebozavod. Robin’s Q Live Sessions have seen him spinning both old school and new school garage classics, along with some jungle vibes for the raving crew! Be sure to tune in to his next Q Sessions via his Instagram.
R – Rassvet
If you follow skateboarding, then you will already be familiar with Russian brand Rassvet. Meaning “sunrise”, the skate brand was created by Gosha Rubchinsky and Tolya Titaev in 2016. Rassvet’s main principle is simplicity – delivering the highest quality skatewear with bold colours and sporting their world-famous logo. Rassvet recently collaborated with Russian streetwear company Kixbox to create Oktyabr (October), a skate store just off Moscow’s legendary New Arbat Street. Paying homage to the skate team who can be found plying their trade by a statue of Lenin opposite Oktyabrskaya metro station, Rassvet produced a number of Oktyabr-branded tees in their latest collections, available exclusively at the Oktyabr store.
S – Strelka
One of Moscow’s most popular spots, Strelka is a super-fashionable bar/restaurant with a rooftop perfect for the summer months. But it’s much more than that – Strelka is also a higher education institute, offering a number of courses on architecture, city planning and media. There is a large outdoor courtyard where students have seminars in the warmer months, with the space doubling up as an extension of the bar in the evenings. Countless international DJs, Afisha Picnic after parties, and even Champions League Final viewings are just a few of the big events that Strelka hosts each summer.
T – Tantsploshchadka
Heading up to the northern capital, Saint Petersburg is known for its party scene, with hundreds of bars and clubs playing a huge range of different genres each night. Nestled in at the back of an old factory complex, just around the corner from the Church on the Spilled Blood, is Tantsploshchadka. Although the name looks slightly daunting in English, in Russian it simply means “dance floor”. Tantsploshchadka is one of Saint Petersburg’s most popular bars, set in an old hangar-styled building, scattered with vintage chairs, rugs and house plants for a truly bohemian feel. There is also an outdoor courtyard and smoking area, which is the perfect place to enjoy your cocktail and witness Petersburg’s white nights in the summer, and even shoot some hoops in the basketball hoop on the back wall!
U – United Gang
If you’ve read our interview with Moscow Legend, then you will already know that United are a bass community from Moscow, consisting of 9 members: Moscow Legend, Toton, Oddkut, Whitelabel, Big Alf, D-Biz, Cosmos, Dubfellah and Gunam. The group hosts events playing the biggest grime, bass and UKG tunes at places such as Powerhouse (letter P in our A-Z of Russian Street Culture). While these genres don’t yet enjoy the same popularity in Russia as in, say, the UK, in Moscow at least they have a large underground core of fans who attend their shows religiously (ourselves included). For more information on United, have a read of our interview with Moscow Legend, available on Kollektiv Features.
V – Volchok
Volchok are a cult classic in Russian streetwear, offering high quality streetwear and adventurous collaborations with brands across the world. The brand started off when founder Vasily Volchok-Rusakovich was working in a second hand store in Saint Petersburg when he discovered his passion for fashion photography. From there, he began to design pieces which led to Volchok’s first official drop in 2014. Volchok’s initial drops focused on the Gothic and dark nature of Russia’s underground culture and social injustice. However, in recent years, the brand’s drops and collaborations have drawn inspiration from other mediums that have led to a number of successful collections. For more information on Volchok, check out our interview with founder Vasily Volchok-Rusakovich over on Kollektiv Features.
Shop the latest Volchok now, available at KollektivMSK.
V – The Village
Another “V” that is key to Russia’s Street Culture is the online magazine “The Village”. The Village offers the latest news from a number of different cities across Russia, as well as publishing the latest cultural events, bar and restaurant openings, and fashion stories. The Village regularly hosts and sponsors cultural events in the capital, and is the best place to find out what to see, do, eat, or wear!
W – Wolee
Wolee has been branded by some as the “Russian Stussy”. Founded by former Mech creator Andrey Dugin, Wolee has increased its popularity in recent years and become a key name in the Russian streetwear scene. Known for its off-the-wall and sometimes controversial designs (including a tee depicting Kim Jong-un which led to trouble with the North Korean Embassy in Moscow and the confiscation of the offending items), Wolee has carved out its own niche and made a big name for itself since its inception in 2017.
X – Xlebozavod
Alright, so we had to cheat a bit here. The Latin letter X (pronounced Ks) does not actually exist in Russian. The Cyrillic “Х” makes more of a “Kh” noise, meaning it should be transliterated as Khlebozavod (“Bread Factory”). That being said, we couldn’t not mention it in our A-Z, as it could be argued that this area is the home of the Moscow street scene. Built in a former Soviet bread factory (hence the name) and the adjacent bottle factory, Khlebozavod is home to almost all Russia’s leading streetwear brands, including Volchok, Mech, Yunost, and Ziq and Yoni.
Alongside these, the complex is home to a number of streetwear stores, concept stores, bars, restaurants, recording studios and media offices. A true cultural hub situated between the busy Dmitrovskoe Highway and parallel-running railway lines, Khlebozavod regularly hosts musical, cultural and fashion events and even has a bar with a pool for that summer holiday feeling in the centre of Moscow.
Y – Yunost
Established in Miami in 2013 by Moscow streetwear veterans Anton Tyulenev and Maxim Ivanov, Yunost – whose name means “youth” – quickly became one of the leading names in the recent rise of Russian streetwear. Influenced by the brand’s American roots, Yunost’s bright colour palettes and bold, often cartoonish designs have struck a chord with young Russians. The brand surpassed even their audacious past releases in 2018 with perhaps Russian streetwear’s most eye-catching collaboration: a collection designed in partnership with none other than fast-food giant KFC itself.
Z – Ziq and Yoni
For our final letter, we had to mention one of Russia’s most well known brands – Ziq and Yoni. Taking inspiration from Generation Z, Ziq and Yoni describe themselves as a new-generation clothing brand that “does not copy the past, and does not predict the future”. They produce very high-quality pieces with bold designs, and recently introduced a new concept: AR fashion! Ziq and Yoni is a truly international operation, stocked in a number of countries across the world including the USA, UK and South Korea, as well as frequently popping up at Paris Fashion Week.
Z – ZIL
A final shout out goes out to ZIL, a former automobile factory in the south east of Moscow which was converted into a cultural centre in 2008. ZIL hosts cultural events, including music festivals, fashion shows and dance performances. If you’re ever visiting, head up to the (sometimes) quiet fourth floor with a seating area frequented by Dungeons and Dragons fans for a chance to see the Kollektiv team at work in our makeshift “office”!