Shopping: slumming it in the Caucasus

24 February 2019 | Posted by Zackary

At a time when logomania and top models born on Instagram have standardized the way we dress, there are many reasons to be inspired by the Eastern European fashion scene.

Widely anchored in nightlife, it will accompany your wild evenings, whether they are held in a hangar under acid or an apartment under cocaine — as Nancy Reagan used to say, “just say no”

Do not cross the borders of the EU in search of elegance; there is plenty to do around you in this area. If we turn to the former USSR, it is for its style between avant-garde, streetwear and 80s opulence with a post-Chernobyl take.

Besides, it’s also an excellent way to play it precursor and win the insidious outfit war that is raging between you and your line manager, by relying on labels in need of exposure — you are a self-proclaimed muse. After all, it is not for nothing that shopping has officially become the primary motivation for holidaymakers in Tbilisi.

Without further ado, let’s slum it in the Caucasus — no, we’re not talking about the mustachey weirdo watching you in the subway while you’re reading to us…

Faithful to the new Georgian guard, Gola Damian imagines a gender less fashion. Rich of a vast universe, his inspirations range from Victorian dandies to the Gulag era gear, and are always declined in bright colors. We’re actually falling for this red sweater, with faux-fur yokes on the collar and cuffs. (174 € in sales on Verv London, no gender concept store.)

Marta Jakubowski is a Polish designer who studied at the Royal College of Art, before trying her hand at the apostle of conceptual fashion, Hussein Chalayan. Quite a journey, which would almost already be enough to ensure her a brilliant future. Today, her label stands out for its mastery of a distinguished minimalism often based on cut-outs, like this velvet top. (111 € in sales.)

Syndicate is one of the very first streetwear brands to be born in Ukraine. The company has even demonstrated its social commitment by recreating production sites that employ and train local workers. We support this good cause with their black oversized pants, which will fit as well with a formal white shirt as a dishevelled tee-shirt. (150 €)

Founded in 1949, Materia is one of the most important (and rare) Georgian clothing manufacturers. Today privatized, the former factory of the communist regime has given itself a new lease of life, and is now called MATÉRIEL — much cooler, you will agree. A true institution, it invites several emerging creators from Tbilisi to design its collections. Here, a blazer with a bolero accent by Aleksandre Akhalkatsishvili, a bright mind we are already fond of. (180 €)

Still at MATÉRIEL, we are now looking at these corduroy pants. The XXL buckle of their tone-on-tone belt accentuates their vintage vein, where their khaki shade makes them easy to match. Regarding the silhouette, they can be worn with a wide or tight top thanks to their high waist. The pleats on the thighs also help to maintain a fluid, but structured line. In short, the cut is perfect. (approx. 250 €)

Behind the Outlaw label hides a duo of Russian designers, evolving at the heart of Moscow’s emulation. Deeply marked by the totalitarianism of the Kremlin, the army’s shadow is inextricable from their collections, in which bulletproof vests frequently appear. Their signature is therefore a streetwear with an often military look, which never gives up its sharp sense of detail, like the yoke on this sweatshirt that Yuri Gagarin could have worn. The little extra? The inscription in Cyrillic, which could be translated as “more life”. (approx. 165 €.)

Gosha Rubchinskiy, who, with Demna Gvasalia of VETEMENTS, proved to the rest of the world that the former USSR could succeed on the international fashion scene, is no longer to be introduced. Growing up under Gorbachev, the Cold War is a recurring theme in his work, which has eventually led him to collaborate with such diverse names as Fila, Adidas and, not the least, Burberry. By the way, these glasses developed with Retrosuperfuture will be perfect for a clandestine pornographer’s look. (270 €)

When you think about it, I just made you travel through several countries without even moving from your chair. Even cheaper than Ryan Air, style as a bonus. I really deserve a street in my name somewhere at the foot of the Urals… •

Hugh Hefner's and Donatella Versace's love child, I am the visible half of the duo behind ZACKARIUM. Addicted to fashion and to Lucky Strike, my mission is to guide you smoothly through the jungle of brands and catwalks.

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