Is Russia Ready for Sustainable Fashion?

BY Green Stilettos / Apr 14, 2013

Fashion, Green-to-glam ideas from A to Z, Lifestyle, Random thoughts

It’s no big secret that Russian girls love fashion. In particular über-brands, sky-high heels and lots of makeup. Whenever I go back to Moscow, where I was born, I always feel slightly underdressed compared to the city girls. But is there room for sustainability in Russia’s growing appetite for fashion? This is the subject of this week’s green-and-glam idea starting with “R”.

With its love of high fashion and growing wealth, Russia is a honeypot for many luxury fashion, watchmaker and jewellery brands. Hardly a month passes by without yet another designer or brand opening a boutique in Moscow. More and more luxury brands are catering to Russian clientele by adding Russian content to their websites and recruiting Russian-speaking shop floor staff.

In a country where fur and leather are wardrobe staples (see my post on The Big Fur Debate) and where obvious display of wealth and status is celebrated rather than frowned upon, does sustainable fashion stand a chance of ever going from marginal to mainstream?

My answer is “yes”, and this is exactly what I will be trying to convey to Russian designers, retailers and fashion lovers next month in Moscow at the second annual Russian Eco Fashion Week. I am really excited about speaking at this event on the topic of sustainable luxury because it provides the best avenue for getting Russians to buy into ethical fashion.

Some of the designs featured during the inaugural Russian Eco Fashion Week in 2012. Photo courtesy RUSECOMODA.

Some of the designs featured during the inaugural Russian Eco Fashion Week in 2012. Photo courtesy RUSECOMODA.

Ahead of the event, I caught up with Marina Kokorina who heads the Russian Eco Fashion Week preparations. I asked her what we can expect from this year’s edition.

“In 2013, we will build on the success of last year’s inaugural Russian Eco Fashion Week, which was an unprecedented event for our country. This year we will also be featuring both up-and-coming and leading Russian designers such as Victoria Andreyanova and Mari Axel. This shows a growing interest in eco-fashion and gives us hope that it will become a part of our lives.”

And does she think that Russia is ready for sustainable fashion? “There are vegan communities in Russia who are keen to have ethical fashion options available to them. in addition, Russian Eco Fashion Week seeks to promote eco-fashion among ordinary Russians who may have not heard about it before.”

With its rich cultural traditions, I am convinced that Russia has yet to bring its full contribution to the global fashion industry, and not least its sustainable incarnation. As writes The Russian Fashion Blog, designers Vika Gazinskaya, Liudmila Norsoyan and Oleg Biryukov might not be household names yet, but they are the ones on the forefront of sustainable fashion movement in Russia.

Just like Matryoshka dolls, Russian eco-fashion may well be the smallest doll hidden by several others for now, but it is usually the one that artisans put the greatest effort in to make the most special, the most beautiful.

Russian nested dolls

Russian nested Matryoshka dolls

I look forward to getting to know Russian eco-fashion designers next month, and will be sure to report on the best finds and the latest trends here on Watch this space!



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