Fashion Week Russia F/W 2019

Last year we visited Moscow several times for the making of Sepp Football Fashion Nr. 10 as the World Cup 2018 was in Russia. And we really fell in love with the country, the city and the people as most young Russians are fighting for a more open society and believe in change. Hence, we happily came back for fashion week earlier this year.

The Manezh, main MBFW Russia venue located next to Red Square.

What’s new?

1.- In order to be “more than just a fashion week”, MBFW Russia launched the Global Talents project to bring designers from across the globe to Moscow for their debut shows.

Let’s call it an open border motto which saw the runway debuts of designers from the following countries: Italy, Great Britain, Switzerland, Peru, Latvia, Georgia and Bangladesh.

2.- A Pop-Up Shop inside the MBFW Russia main venue Manezh. This shop space also hosted a series of industry lectures from stylists, makeup artists, legal experts and historians.

3.- The 4th edition of Futurum Moscow, the program helping young designers from Russia and Eastern Europe to enter the industry. It is comparable to the Designers Apartment support program and showroom by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode in Paris.

“This season, representatives of over 50 international media outlets will arrive to cover Futurum Moscow. Now, Futurum Moscow designers are followed all over the globe” – Alexander Shumsky, President of the Russian Fashion Council and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia

Installation at Futurum Moscow

What’s different?

Two looks from the Russian Artisan Expedition collaborative show featuring Russian-Palekh folk art elements.

In most fashion capitals like Paris and Milan, entrepreneurs are behind the local fashion industry, while in Russia it seems to be the other way around. The Russian Government’s involvement in fashion related activities has the objective to attract the investment of the private sector. Achtung Digital had the opportunity to talk to the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Mrs. Gulnaz Kadyrova about this. She proudly shared with us the story of a five employee, traditional embroidery factory in a small village which after two and a half years now has 150 workers thanks to private investment. Showcases like the Russian Artisan Expedition, a show inspired by the work of Russian regional craftsmen and interpreted by the students of Florence’s Polimoda Fashion School and Higher School of Economy of Moscow, are emblematic initiatives who drive this trend. Often the Russian Fashion Council, the Rustrends (Fund for the Development of National Crafts) and the Ministry of Trade of the Russian Federation collaborate.

Alexander Shumsky, President of the Russian Fashion Council and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, with Mrs. Gulnaz Kadyrova, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, at the end of a show.

The best three shows?


RUBAN sisters-designers Alisa and Julia with Petra, Alisa’s five-year old daughter who closed the show.

RUBAN was created in 2010 by sisters Alisa and Julia Ruban and aims to stand via multilayering and a combination of various transparent with dense textures. Their last collection was presented on one of the top floors of TSUM, Russia’s number one department store creative-directed by Achtung Mode’s new Moscow Fashion Director Natasha Goldenberg. The runway pieces were ready to buy at TSUM right after the show.

From clean silhouettes in leather to light deconstructed cotton dresses and cozy coats in fake fur, the sister-duo presented a vast minimalist easy to wear collection.

Achtung Digital: How old are you?

RUBAN: 36 (Alisa) and 40 (Julia).

AD: Where are you from? How did your career in fashion start?

R: We grew up in Moscow, studied here and started our careers as stylists. We mostly worked for Glamour Russia and collaborated with many other magazines and fashion companies across Russia.

AD: Tell us about the inspiration behind the collection?

R: All the pieces are turned inside out. One can see all the seams, all the labels on the face of the garments. Also, the label contains the QR-code which is a part of the digital storytelling developed by our team. Scanning the barcode with your camera leads you to the video containing styling options of the garment. We always listen to our customers and this is our feedback on the FAQ – “How do I wear it?” or “How should I style it?” We want women to make reasonable choices with no efforts.

RUBAN garment label

We sourced the inspiration from a technical process and its attributes. The atelier has always been a great part of our business because we started as a small local brand with more custom-made pieces than ready-to-wear garments. And now, after nine years, we are proud to demonstrate everything what is usually hidden behind the doors and inside the garments. In fact, we believe that the inside is the true face of the brand. We worked very hard to make it our main principle.

AD: How would you describe the current Moscow woman?

R: Moscow women still love proper make-up and hair. They are always good looking and feminine. That has been a hallmark of Moscow girls for ages. But one can easily notice that they are now keen on minimalism.

AD: See now, buy now?

R: Yes, right after the show, the collection will be available on the 5th floor of TSUM. The first drop was sold out immediately.

AD: And fake fur for RUBAN?

R: We have been experimenting with fake fur for two seasons and some of the coats have become our bestsellers!

AD: Which international designers inspire you?

R: We admire Isabel Marant, Jil Sander and Dries Van Noten. They are commercial and creative at the same time.

2.- Alexander Arutyunov

Fashion designer Alexander Arutyunov

In his own words: “Alexander Arutyunov was born in Georgia (Tbilisi), where he lived until he went away to school in Moscow. Though he found his passion there it was not until he went back to Georgia where he found his inspiration. With Georgia’s strong traditions and cultural values, it was a major influence on his work. The designer works a lot with his hands as in painting and embroidery. That is why Alexander refuses factory production, because it is important for him to be able to control the quality and exclusivity of each item.”

Alexander Arutyunov Fall/Winter 2019 collection

Colorful knitted sweaters, evening dresses styled with Ascot hats, accessories featuring CCCP letters – a deft mix of Russian icons.


3.- Otocyon

Volchok-Rusakovich was first part of Futurum Moscow not that long ago and has graduated to the official runway calendar with her label Otocyon.

(Left) Otocyon designer. (Right) Nude-colored bodysuits in all of nature’s shapes.

The vitals:

Name: Lesya Volchok-Rusakovich

Age: 26

Birth place: Ayaguz, Kazakhstan

Brand: Otocyon

Career status: 5th collection

Collection inspiration: Body art in a uniform way

Favorite designer: Dries Van Noten

Standout: Inclusivity

Otocyon looks

The added benefit?

From left to right: The locals Roma Danilov, 21, musician; Alex Rakhmanov, 22, social media marketing; Natali Delozerova, 21, model; Allana Poe, 23, model; Glatira, 18, model; Julia Yum, 18, fashion photographer and model.

Something that got our special attention during MBFW Russia: The very young, show attending crowd. We introduce you to Natasha Goncharova whom we met backstage at the Otocyon show while she was doing a reportage for her upcoming art exhibition.

Moscow young artist Natasha Goncharova

Achtung Digital: Name, age and birth place please?

Natasha Goncharova: Natasha Goncharova, 23, Moscow.

AD: Career status and focus?

NG: Conceptual art student: painting, sculpture, installation and video art. I worked as a model a few years ago but I decided it was not my passion.

Natasha’s sketch book

AD: How do you see Moscow?

NG: Moscow lives an interesting moment. It is changing quickly. Ten years ago it was all about having a lot of money in Moscow; it was just about having fun. Now, my generation prefers to study, go to libraries and museums and work, work, work. Everyday I have different cultural free activity offers. My favorite ones are the lectures at Garage Museum. Traveling is important to open the mind and bring back new experiences. The biggest problem in the world is ignorance.

AD: What about social media?

NG: I do not believe in Instagram because I am an artist. For fashion it may be important as it is a fast industry. For real art it should not. Whenever I use it, I only use it for art performance purposes, never selfies. If I use my face I would be playing a character as part of my art, never as myself. My face, as my body, are mine so I believe they should not be exposed on social media with everybody. I have recently implemented some social media ethics: e.g. No mobile while eating, no mobile…

AD: MBFW Russia:

NG: I have experienced Fashion Week Russia for a few years now, moreover during my years as model. It is definitely better now but not ideal yet. I do not understand the need of creating so many collections by year.

AD: Your art project on MBFW Russia F/W 2019:

NG: My project consists of an installation room with two films going on simultaneously: One film made by me, who has experienced Fashion Week Russia, and one made by my colleague and former roommate for whom this is the first fashion week experience. We both have been interviewing people at fashion week. This will be my third installation-like project.

AD: Any other fashion related project?

NG: Yes, I have collaborated with Russian brand Kruzhok Moscow. They have included my prints in their garments.

Natasha Goncharova x Kruzhok Moscow

AD: Describe your style:

NG: Simple. I usually wear clothes in black, blue and white colors. I do not like to have many clothes. I am used to exchange clothes with my friends. We are an ecological minded generation, you know? When I buy, I like to do it at vintage stores.

Banner “water” triptych (fragment), installation, 2017 by Natasha

AD: Current favorite book:

NG: In the Flow by Boris Groys.

AD: Current favorite artist:

NG: Andrey Kuzkin and Pavel Otdelnov.

AD: Current favorite music:

NG: Kedr Livanskiy and AL-90 (click here and here to listen the playlists shared by Natasha).

AD: Where do you like to hang out?

NG: Ping Pong Club (which unfortunately is currently closed). I like to party with friends but I do not really drink anymore. I like going out to dance but mostly for fitness now.

Natasha’s work: (Left) The sky in the field during the summer rain, tree oil, 2018; (right) Final World Cup 2018/Moscow, tree oil, 2018 (footballers: Third number – Ilya Kutepov, RUS, Twelfth Room – Kylian Mbappé, FRA, Tenth number – Luka Modrić, CRO).

AD: Future:

NG: Future is science and technology. Future is positive.


Click on the images to zoom in and see captions.