So This Is It?

Could DSM’s announcement of Gosha Rubchinskiy’s “final delivery” be confirmation that the designer who made Cyrillic text and the country’s skate aesthetic cool is putting an end to his label? Or, is this merely the last drop for the autumn/winter collection?

 

Gosha AW 2018

By Ray Zhang

In April this year, Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy announced via Instagram that his eponymous label will cease to exist “as you know it”. The brand further elaborated that “there will be no more seasonal collections”. Fans were hopeful: no more seasonal collections does not mean a complete halt—Mr Rubchinskiy could do ‘projects’ in limited runs, which would increase the brand’s desirability. Mr Rubchinskiy also told Hypebeast at the opening of DSM Beijing that he “is a bit tired doing season-to-season collections.” He also said, during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi in May, that “Every idea has a time and what I wanted to express, I expressed it.” An extended sabbatical is not unreasonable.

Still, the announcement is sad because if he should stop, it would be at a time when the discerning street-style consumer is beginning to appreciate his brand more. Those who have no love for the over-hyped nothingness of Supreme and Off-White see Gosha Rubchinskiy as a designer with a true and clear design vision, and a voice that is articulate. This is a designer who wears authenticity like a badge, and not as token salute. It was he who channeled sporty geekiness into fashionable threads way before Gucci’s Tenebaums uncool cool. And he looked no further than his native Russia, not quite the next Korea, but still with enough faraway exception and artistic nous to be compelling.

It could be considered a smart move to not tether your name to street wear, now, for many a passport to fame. But Mr Rubchinskiy isn’t distancing himself from a category that gave him his start. Reportedly, his immediate plan is to grow Paccbet, a casual, skate-centric line he started with his skate pals and some artists. There’s even going to be a skate shop in Moscow—the “coolest” in the city, according to the designer.

If Mr Rubchinskiy is moving towards being Russia’s first global luxury brand, it may be strategically advantageous to take a break to re-position. It was reported that Gosha Rubchinskiy is supported by Comme des Garçons (including production and distribution). The brand’s closure would not have made business sense, but, according to a Business of Fashion report, CDG claimed to be in collaboration with Mr Rubchinskiy, project-based, for the next couple of years or so. They emphasised that they “want to find new a way to make and sell products.”

The fickleness of fashion is notorious. Maybe it’s wise that Gosha Rubchinskiy is getting out while he’s hot.

Photo: Dover Street Market

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