Architecture, art, mathematical logic: the three elements that characterize Red September are evident in each of the garments that make up the SS23 collection presented during the recent fashion week in Paris.
Born in 2018 with the aim of giving space and voice to a niche and at the same time strenuously metropolitan fashion, the brand is a vibrant reflection of contemporary society and young people who shy away from homogenization.
The designer Olga Vasyukova is also an engineer, skilled in calibrating arithmetic principles and flashes of pure creativity with exquisite passion.
Red September is a pragmatic and dreamlike label, permeated with a calculated determinism.
VANITY TEEN – Red September was born with what purpose?
Olga Vasyukova – Fashion is a reflection of all the major events taking place in people’s lives. The time has come when the entire industry started to change, market has welcomed the Millennials who’s breaking all the luxury codes. Being an emerging brand, we are involved in creating new philosophy of fashion business, revendicate the fact to be humans before a man or a woman, we post lookbooks and campaigns with non-binary models, show gender-fluid collections and share videos that represent our thoughts and principles in a best way. I’m not focusing on achieving the long-lasting concept, being able to represent personalities and values of our community here and now.
Red September is an independent, ironic and brave brand which creates its own communication language through the reinterpretation of the cultural-symbolic code.
VT – Why did you choose Red September as name of your label?
OV – Every time someone asks me this question, I promise myself to come up with some melodramatic horror story in the future that lies behind the brand name, but now, I have just the pathetically boring reality that my sarcastic sense of humour mixed up with my personal present and my grandmother’s past. The end.
VT – 2018/2022: how would you sum-up four years in the fashion industry?
OV – Tolerance to failures. Failure is part of the game. You always fail because you try all sorts of crazy new ideas. If you don’t fail, then you’re not trying risky enough. You need to think outside the box.
But how? Try all the time. Make mistakes and try again. After a failure, you are not a loser, but a person with experience.
VT – Red September is inspired by industrial and architecture design to create unconventional and contemporary items. What do you think is your strengths?
OV – Fashion design in Polimoda is not my first diploma. A few years before that, I graduated from Moscow State University of Railway Engineering and worked as a Railway Transport Logistics researcher. Therefore, there are many complicated models in my collections with deconstruction elements and reverse engineering. I am an engineer and my first education determines my way of thinking and systematic approach to the work process.
Engineering is my life background. It’s like an operating system in my head – all my thoughts are formed under the influence of all the knowledge and experience that I get every day. I always say, I am not a designer, but an engineer.
Who knows, maybe tomorrow I will return to the railroad and do science again, and then I will create an uniform for the workers of the railways.
VT – 2020 is rightly considered annus horribilis due to the international health crisis caused by Coronavirus. 2021 spared no suffering but the Brands were able to respond with ingenuity and determination. How did Red September deal with this moment? What did it teach?
OV – I try to re-engineer and design my life with optimization not only for success, but also for happiness. As soon as I begin to realize that what I’m doing is no longer bringing me pleasure and starts to cause stress, my productivity is falling, I abstract and let go of the situation. Until I get the balance back. I can go for a swim in the pool, walk in the park, sleep or read a book, whatever. I return to work only with a clear mind without negative emotions, otherwise all this will affect the results of my work.
VT – Endorphins is the name of the new SS23. Braided denim, bold bubble gum prints and nostalgic voyage to summer vacation on the shores of the Black Sea are the leitmotiv of a collection that hopes and makes you dream for better times. Can you tell us something more?
OV – What are endorphins? The most common opinion is that these are “hormones of happiness” produced in the brain while kissing and eating chocolate. In reality, everything is much more complicated. Endorphins are anesthesia. And it provides fear, longing, and horror no less than happiness. Not only do they become the body’s reaction to something bright and exciting but also protect us from the stress of reality.
The first fashion marker of endorphins are prints with modified Spearmint, Doublemint, and Orbit wrappers. In the 1990s, foreign chewing gum was not just a symbol of the first import but also personal happiness in a pocket. You have a gum = you’re cool. We used to keep it for months, glue it to the railing, blow up huge bubbles. We shared its dried half sticks with friends and frantically chewed all the problems over with Juicy Fruit. The chewing gum labels that are easily identified on Red September SS23 jackets, trousers, shorts, and shirts follow the brand’s conceptual line of anti-depressant prints.
Nostalgia as a phenomenon is an important source of endorphins. When it feels like there is no future, we begin digging up the past and drowning in memories. This Red September collection features the items with endorphin shots from 1990s. A walrus man diving into an ice-hole in Vladivostok gets his endorphin rush. The pebbly beaches of the Black Sea coast against the backdrop of breakwaters, as a metaphor for pure euphoria, are applied to straight-cut shirts with short sleeves. These are exactly what Russian men wore in the 90s. Combine them with monochrome loose suits: harsh blue, light blue, and inky purple. Finally, the photo of the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics under construction in Moscow — just the thought of a spaceflight and conquering the Universe still excites the mind and nervous system.
VT – You’re collaborating with the showroom The Residency Experience in LA to increase the presence in the US market and the collaboration with celebrities and influencers. Who is the name (or names) you would like to wear?
OV – A$AP Rocky — his style is absolutely cosmic and Red September would suit him very well.
VT – Future?
OV – As my grandmother used to say, let’s make it through this day, and then we’ll see.
Thanks a lot!