Last night A$AP Rocky hit the stage of the VMAs with rock band twenty øne piløts for a mash-up medley that took the best of both artists' catalogues and thrashed them together. Rocky hit the stage in a navy blue sweatsuit with a noticeable Tommy Hilfiger logo flip, which fashion heads instantly recognized as the "Flag Hoodie" from Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy's Fall collection.
Born and based in Moscow, Rubchinskiy spent his formative years during the collapse of the Soviet Union, as Communism fell and gave way to the embrace of capitalist ideas. He started out in fashion as a stylist and make-up artist around 2003 before branching out into clothing in 2008. He had a streetwear line called "Aglec" and also released his first eponymous collection, titled "Evil Empire."
"We pre-empted the moment and now it is the most popular street style in Russia. After what we did, a lot of new, small, street brands started appearing. We have shown that it is possible to make your own story," says Rubchinskiy to Dazed in an interview last year. As the brand got more popular, Rubchinskiy ran into problems meeting the high demand and ended up taking a few seasons off before partnering with Adrian Joffe of Comme des Garçons.
"They help me with production and I'm very pleased, it is a great experience for me. It's like a miracle," says the designer of the partnership.
Similar to designers like Raf Simons, Rubchinskiy readily draws from youth subculture for his designs and relies on spontaneous street casting instead of modeling agencies for his runway models. Some of his recent fashion shows included teens as young as 13 wearing his clothes. Beyond clothing, Rubchinskiy is also an avid photographer, he's shot his own lookbooks featuring the young Russian teenage skaters who inspire him.
“Fashion is just part of this world I’m building,” says Rubchinskiy to 032c. “The kids who inspire me are the goal of my work. I do it for them first of all.”
His designs have referenced familiar icons like the Thrasher logo and flipped them into Cyrillic. Rocky's Tommy Hilfiger-inspired hoodie takes the Russian and Chinese flags and juxtaposes them with Hilfiger's familiar logo, and substitutes Rubchinskiy's own Cyrillic name for Tommy's. The resulting mash-up is meant to reflect on '90s Communism and the current state of both countries—Russia and China now both have an eager customer base ready to consume luxury fashion.
And in a recent case of the snake eating itself, eagle-eyed style nerds were quick to compare Supreme's Spring/Summer 2015 patchwork faux fur coat with one Rubchinskiy made a season before. Although Rubchinskiy's "Flag" T-shirt and hoodie are practically sold out everywhere, Chicago's Notre Shop has limited sizes left. Copping a hoodie will set you back $210, while the corresponding sweatpants will cost you $180.