Where to buy cool Russian fashion with folk and Soviet motifs (PHOTOS)

Alexandra Pustyreva Design; Beautiful Criminals
Tradition is often kept alive through continual interpretation. And these designers have successfully managed to inject traditional Russian design elements into their hoodies, t-shirts and tracksuits.

Modern Russian brands with a taste for folk culture do more than simply resurrect traditional Russian folk designs – they also produce modern fashion items with eclectic references to old customs, crafts and fairy tales. 

T-shirts with Russian ligature

The following designs are the brainchild of Amano_dress founder Tatyana Kruchenyh. As she herself has explained on the brand’s Instagram page, the idea came to her during a course on Russian ligature (decorative Cyrillic writing), which she spontaneously enrolled in. Students were taught using phrases from Russian scripture, but Tatyana had an inkling to mix it up by including contemporary elements, thus giving birth to two t-shirt designs: “God is tired of loving us” and “Do good and throw it into the water”.

Corsets with old myths and children’s toys

Alexandra Pustyreva’s brand, Kosskoss, creates stylish clothing, including corsets, which are a throwback to folklore, national fairy tales and other elements of the Russian cultural code. One such corset, for instance, is decorated with the magical bird - Sirin. And another one with a Soviet children’s toy – the nevalyashka.

Hoodies and sweatshirts with ornaments

Naboyka, or nabivka – loosely translated as “stuffing” or “padding” – is a type of Russian decorative art of applying a print to a material by hand with the aid of forms with embossed patterns. Varvara Zenina is a big fan of the technique, which we can see in her hoodies and sweatshirts. 

Gzhel-style blouse and braided costume designs

Irina Matyushenko, who founded the brand Beautiful Criminals, describes her brainchild as a “mix of folk, mysticism, fairy tales and contemporary trends”. Besides the aforementioned blouse, with stylistic hints to traditional crafts, and the 90s-style costume with a braided design, the brand’s website contains numerous unexpected twists on the Russian theme - such as a t-shirt with a half-naked woman, done in the Gzhel handicraft style. 

Soviet tracksuit and ‘Olimpiada-80’ sweater

The brand ‘Olovo’ takes its inspiration from Soviet athletes’ uniforms from the 1960s. The resulting tracksuit contains not only the pants and jacket, but also a hat. 

Another Moscow Olympic-style item is the sweater, bearing a grass hockey ornament. 

Jean jacket with the two-headed eagle and phoenix-styled overcoat

These are the works of Russmotive, which often make use of golden hand-embroidered patterns, done with metallic threads. In doing so, the brand supports the preservation of traditional Russian crafts and stylistic approaches. 

Long-sleeve with six-winged seraph and mandorla

Moscow’s Orthodox temple of Hieromartyr Antipas of Pergamon oversees several commercial projects. The territory of the temple contains a cafe, and the website sells merch. For instance, the print on the long-sleeve was made by the same artist whose work can be seen at the temple. The second one was inspired by the icon depicting the Transfiguration, by Theophanese the Greek. According to the temple’s priest, creating the items aids in supporting the temple financially, as well as delivering important spiritual messages

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