New Russian Radicals Go Beyond Gosha

New Russian Radicals Go Beyond Gosha

Barrier-breaking multimedia platform Fortochka assembles next-gen Russian creators.

Barrier-breaking multimedia platform Fortochka assembles next-gen Russian creators.

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

Russian fashion isn’t all Gucci-loving priests and Gosha, as the cross-cultural platform Fortochka has set out to prove. The part-podcast, part-pop-up is led by American best friends Olivia Capozzalo and Smith Freeman, who want to pass the mic to contemporary designers making noise in the Moscow and Saint Petersburg scenes. At their first IRL event this past weekend in the East Village, Fortochka painted a nuanced portrait of Russia’s emergent fashion bloc, ranging from the brutalist streetwear aesthetic popularized by prodigal son Gosha Rubchinskiy to brands harking back to bourgeois embellishment.

The two-day event grew out of Capozzalo and Freeman’s weekly podcast, “She’s In Russia,” which has doubled as a long-distance-friendly pastime—Capozzalo lives in Saint Petersburg and Freeman is based in Brooklynand a queer-friendly conduit between their historically estranged countries of residence. Covering topics from dating to propaganda to the Gosha craze’s roots in a Russian stereotype, the show has also given voice to the local wares that Fortochka sells. On a recent episode, Capozzalo tells us, the designer of Sputnik1985 suggested how Russian youth culture has embraced Western capitalist ideals: “He said, ‘I’m not a clothing designer; I’m a merch designer.’”

But brands like the sister-owned Goldmans offer a more idiosyncratic take on streetwear, blending unconventional iconography and utilitarian apparel, from underwear branded with the anarchy symbol to a skirt illustrated with a bourgeois woman and pet tiger. Founders Ulia and Zhenya Goldman describe their style as "a little provocation, a little negation and artistic sentiment," adding that, "In general, we just do what we like." In these exclusive photos, the Siberia-born sisters test the limits of their collection—perhaps coming to a future Fortochka pop-up near you.

Leather jacket (courtesy: Goldmans)

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