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“We are stuck in a social environment that condemns any manifestation of individuality, which is probably why we are so supported by the young generation of cool kids,” says fashion designer Olga Vasyukova, the founder and creative director of Red September, one of the most interesting emerging brands in Russia. Olga has just released her Spring/Summer 2021 collection, titled Kidult, a powerful statement about freedom, inclusivity, creativity and self-expression.
“I have studied a lot about the phenomenon of kidults in our society,” explains Olga about the phenomenon that gives title to her newest collection, which usually refers to adults who’re kids at heart. Also inspired by street artist Kidult – “such a nickname,” she jokes –, who years ago painted/vandalised high-end boutique windows with political graffitis, Olga aims to disturb with her designs this upcoming season. “My mom doesn’t approve of such vandalism, but the purpose of art is to disturb.”

This last statement is actually the main thread across the collection. We find ‘the purpose of art is to disturb’ printed on shirts, blouses and hoodies, as well as other phrases like ‘world will kill you’ also printed or embroidered in jackets, jumpers and hoodies – the final ‘d’ in ‘world’ references the instantly recognizable Disney’s typography. “This whole story pushed me, so I made graphics for the entire collection,” says Olga.

Olga produced Kidult during lockdown. And, just like everyone else’s, her creativity was deeply affected by it. “I spent too much time on the couch with books and hot cocoa – it softened me a bit,” she confesses. “But it’s okay, now I’m ready,” she says confidently. This sort of ‘softening’ translated into more relaxed, less structured shapes and silhouettes. Especially her famous Tetra Pak shoulders, a distinctive feature of the brand, “a unique shape that will always be present in the collections and evolve technically.” These shoulders, which we see in a handful of outerwear pieces – like a biker jacket in red leather or a more bomber-style denim jacket – will make a comeback. “I’m back in shape, and the new collection will again be full of Soviet rock-and-roll.”

This rebelliousness, fighting against an old-fashioned status quo, is what attracts people to Red September. “We’re all about inclusivity. An underground community of completely different people gathers around the brand to support our views and values,” Olga explains. “They share our desire to erase frames and restrictions, minimize divisions and give everyone the opportunity to wear what they want and look like they want.” Perfectly captured in the campaign video, shot by Fedor Bitkov, this plural community composed of artists, musicians, skaters, photographers, models and dancers build a sense of togetherness and belonging. This is a group who’s tired of a society that rejects their innovative views and ideas.

Other forward-thinking ideas that Red September is embracing include recycling and upcycling. “These days, the entire fashion industry is going through a transitional moment, when all the concepts, norms and principles that had been established for many years stop working and need to be rethought,” the designer explains. “The focus is changing from financial profit to caring about the environment and our future in it.” Campaigning for a greener future, Olga has repurposed old clothes and fabrics into new designs. “This may be the beginning of unexpected and productive collaborations between industries from different fields and the emergence of fundamentally new materials,” she believes.

But to her, the most important goal is to make people feel something when they see her designs. She wants the audience to react to her pieces, her art, her concepts. “The main thing is that creativity evokes emotion. It doesn’t matter which one, positive or negative.” As she explains, this is “the only way to build a connection with the community,” and once you achieve it, you’ve won.

David Valero
Photos & video
Fedor Bitkov

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