Russia has produced a number of successful fashion designers in recent years, but its fashion world is in peril. Many Russian designers don’t show their clothes in their native country, and although Russia has an enormous market for fashion, it is rapidly shrinking. If the problem isn’t lack of talent, what is going wrong?

Refinery29’s Valerie Stivers explored the topic and found that Russia’s fashion malaise has political roots. In recent years, the official media has promoted conservative, nationalist fashion and denounced “hipsters” in ways that increasingly remind Russians of Soviet ideologists. Moreover, trade policies make high-quality material expensive and difficult to come by. In all, Russia has become an inconvenient and potentially dangerous place to make and sell innovative clothing.

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