By Michelle Lee
If you thought athletic brands were making their way out of the fashion industry, you may want to think again.
Streetwear designer Gosha Rubchinskiy showcased part of his Adidas collaboration during his AW17 menswear show on Jan. 12 in Kaliningrad, Russia. Although the collaboration itself did not come as much of a shock due to their street-style compatibilities, the execution of the show and the designer’s take on the collection were inspiring and ubiquitous.
Let’s start with the show itself. Yes, the clothes are talk-worthy, but the meaning behind the positioning of the show and the collection are up for discussion, too.
Some people might question why Rubchinskiy held his show in Kaliningrad after quite some time apart from the city, with his last show held there in 2009, rather than the Western cities that are usually the heart of Fashion Week. The designer wanted to make the show and collection personal, going back to his roots in order to communicate Russian culture, according to Dazed.
“I chose to have boys from around Russia, I wanted to see what was happening in their minds,” Rubchinskiy said. “To me, it’s like a portrait of Russia, an image of the young generation of today.”
Reminiscent of his past, Rubchinskiy recalled the pride held for football and the attire that would come along with it. Since there were no real athletic brands at the time, Adidas was the go-to for most football fans. This concept carries into today’s generation, where younger footballers and fans wear sports apparel with a fashion statement, mixing styles as a way to express feeling through fashion.
Efforts to communicate the youth culture were also conveyed through the models. The young men walked to music chosen by Rubchinskiy himself, who also organized the whole show, and the sound of their voices as they delivered monologues sharing their hopes and dreams.
Now on to the collection.
The designer stayed true to his style by including structured work suits, from full-on black to a gingham print; tailored pants; and statement outerwear, while gracefully incorporating Adidas pieces such as an oversized red Adidas windbreaker, sweatshirts, sneakers and tracksuits embellished with the phrase “football” in Cyrillic script. The looks showcased urban street style of the younger generation with a perfect balance between the old and the new.
And there’s more to come. Rubchinskiy will showcase the collaboration piece by piece in shows leading up to the 2018 World Cup, also sponsored by Adidas. Sam Handy, vice president for design at Adidas and Adidas Football creative director, hopes the collection will give a voice to the emerging Russian culture and the global football event, according to The Business of Fashion.
“A big part of our strategic and creative change was to think about football as much more than a sport, but an incredibly important part of youth culture,” Handy said. This mindset seems similar to Rubchinskiy’s inspiration from local communities.
Overall, the collaboration is a unique take on a collection, with focus on the proposition rather than the clothes. With Adidas rising as a fashion brand and its collaboration with emerging street-style designer Rubchinskiy, it will be interesting what else the two will bring to the high-fashion table and how the sports company will turn its attention to streetwear and emerging youth culture.