Sputnik1985 is a Russian streetwear brand that is gathering international momentum right now. But what’s its story? Established in 2011 as a punk merch brand, it didn’t take long for the label to also produce streetwear clothing. Today, Sputnik1985 produces two menswear/unisex collections per year and is sold in its own store in Moskow, as well as in multibrand stores in Tokyo, Kiew and Saint Petersburg. Prices range between €20 for T-shirts with cyrillic prints (a common look for Sputnik1985) and €100 for anoraks. We talked to founder Sergey Pakhotin about the punk and streetwear community, originality and fashion as a political statement.
You say Sputnik1985 comes from a punk background. How would you describe the brand's style now?
Probably we have become less politicized, due to the situation in the country, when everyone has his own strong opinion to political events and believes that only he is right. The total escalation of aggression, hatred and harassment in official media that fulfill the will of the authorities, this situation has led to the fact that a person today divides the surrounding people into "mine" or "enemy."
What does that mean?
For example, when one communicates with friends, relatives and during the discussions or disputes on political topics, they can immediately become enemies of each other. I understand that this is the result of calculated steps by politicians. A critical approach to what is happening around us, is a direct appeal to a person, and not to some leader–probably we are trying to act like this. Because it is not normal when everyone suddenly became ready to gnaw each other's throats, write denunciations and dream of the death of people with another "opinion!"
How does this development occur in your designs?
In our prints, of course, there are some critical remarks on what is happening in the world. For example, a print with words from the song "Anthem of the Aviators": "We were born to make a fairy tale happen." It can be treated differently and find a response from the "cheers-patriots" because this is a song from the Stalin era, but for us these words are about what a person has come to, realizing a certain fairy tale. He destroys everything around him, justifying it with the ultimate mythical goal.
Who is the brand's core audience?
In Russia, there are the guys from 15 to 24 years old. They are still alive, flexible, plastic and active. Basically, these are very young people, but it does not seem silly to me to mention as a minus an audience of schoolers, for example. Remember your youth, school years, for all of us this was almost the most vivid time in the life. There are people and brands who are trying to gain recognition from fashion snobs.
Guys, we were ahead of you long ago. Sputnik1985 was and is in the youth of many children, and not only in Russia. We do not need more.
Apart from the post-USSR upbringing, what are your main influences (designwise)?
We like escapades and antics of some big brands. But they are more dictated by the need to surprise than with some inner aim. Probably in many ways they are purely advertising steps. That is why the definition of post-Soviet, which is beloved by the European community, sounds like another trend for us, a request for something wretched and crooked in response to the bourgeois gloss. Naturally, we feel the influence of our past. The breaking points of our country fell on our youth and naturally affected us, but we are still affected by a lot of things, the enumeration of all these factors would make us very tired.
So far, Sputnik1985 is retailing in Russia, Ukraine, Japan and online. Are you planning to expand in that regard? If yes, to which countries preferably?
Of course we aren't against expanding the geography of our brand presence. In the DIY punk community you can write to any musical band and almost always you receive an answer. While living in the village, I studied local zines and sent paper letters to all the collectives that interested me. It was a whole holiday to get the answer from Malaysia, the Czech Republic and the United States. But by the same principle, when I tried to write to foreign streetwear brands, I received almost total silence. Apparently you need to be known in this society, only then your e-mail will be read, but it doesn't mean that someone is going to answer.
It's strange that brands who call themselves "punk" brands didn't answer us to our proposals for cooperation. Guys, we will not stop to believe that we will find sincere allies in other countries of the world, but such a snob approach makes you so limited, we will do without you.
What is to be expected from Sputnik1985 in the future?
The thing that we don't want to do at all is collaboration with the Russian Alfa Bank, which, like all other banks, concludes people into Kabbalah of the form of mortgages and “wild” loans. It may seem strange, but we have had such a proposal. Madness. We hope to remain in a sober mind and sound memory.
8 (800) 222-43-85
Pokrovka Street, 19, Moskva, Russia, 101000