A Cyrillic Fashion Statement

PHOTO by cabinetnoir / Instagram
A bank clerk from England, a Serbian DJ and a Taiwanese model explain why they wear – and adore – clothes with slogans in Cyrillic lettering

Amber Huang, 24

Model, Taiwan

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“Clothes with cyrillic slogans have recently come into fashion owing to a new wave of interest in Russian style instigated by designer Gosha Rubchinsky. I fell head over heels for Cyrillic lettering when I first noticed how it looks on the clothes Gosha designs. I have a couple of T-shirts and longsleeved tops saying “Rassvet” (Russian for “sunrise” – ed.). My favourite Japanese brand GVGV has started using Cyrillic letters in their collection this season. Their clothes are printed with the Russian words for “sport”, “youth”, “red”, “black” and a few others. I know what the words mean, but I can’t pronounce any of them!”

Jamie Botterill, 21

Bank clerk, American Express, UK

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“It goes without saying I have no knowledge Russian. But if I’m not mistaken, “rassvet” means sunrise. It’s cool that not everybody can read the captions on my clothes, but that’s not why I wear them, I just like the way they look, I like the strange shapes. I had never really been interested in Cyrillics before I heard about Gosha Rubchinsky - he is absolutely fantastic. There are clothes with unusual captions in Japanese or Chinese characters, but I don't wear them.”

Denis Ikonić, 30

DJ/producer/architect, Serbia

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“I first wore Kokon To Zai (KTZ) two years ago during my set at a festival. Soon after, people from KTZ contacted me with a sponsorship offer. I was overjoyed.

“My stage programme is a bit on the mystical side, probably even freaky, so their clothes are the perfect choice for me. As for the Russian lettering, I am Serbian, and Russians and Serbs enjoy a kind of brotherhood and our languages are also similar. I can’t say I understand everything it says on the shirt, but I know some of the words. I have a lot of KTZ products like T-shirts, hoodies and trousers without Russian lettering, but this concept is my favourite. It reminds me of my roots.”

Robby Pang, 31


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“I have been a huge fan of Gosha Rubchinsky since early on in his career. I know that “rassvet” means sunrise, but as my Russian friends explained to me, it’s also a metaphor for a better life. I have always liked exotic characters such as Cyrillics and I think Russia is an intriguing and unique country. I have been hearing more and more about stylish Russian brands lately - I'm really fond of clothes by Sorry Iʼm Not and Behind the Scenes.”

Def Gabz, 28

Comme de Garçons and @freechillers, France

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“I wear clothes by Gosha Rubchinsky because I work for Comme des Garçons (a French fashion label that is presents its name in Japanese -ed.). It's corporate ethic, I guess. I don’t know any other brand using Russian letters. I’m not so keen on KTZ. With Cyrillic prints, you will always stand out from the crowd. Besides, Russian letters are in trend.”

Echi Chen, 23

Shop assistant, Taiwan

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“I think my sweater says “Walk of Shame” in Russian. So far, WOS is the only Russian brand I know – we sell it in Clash, where I work as a shop assistant. Russia is a fascinating and infinitely attractive country which appears enigmatic to outsiders. I am interested in everything Russian-made, so I really enjoy wearing this sweater.”

Ashley Christine, 23

California, USA

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“I don’t know a single word printed on these clothes, honestly. But they look awesome! This is the only Cyrillic outfit I have so far, but when I saw it in the shop, I just fell in love with it. The pattern is dramatic and colourful, totally in my style. I wouldn’t even care if it said something offensive. I’d wear it all the same.”