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Interview with Outlaw Moscow Designers Maxim Bashkaev and Dilyara Minrakhmanova

More than your average brand.

Outlaw Moscow, also known as AYTΛO is not your typical creative company, specifically, the forward-thinking brand have continued to fuse their accepting and free-thinking attitude into a range of outputs with the most notable form being clothing. This has consequently lead to the brand amassing a large following of loyal fans on social media and attracting the attention of high-profile brands and individuals such as PUMA who they have now teamed up with in order to create a clothing collection.

Tell us a bit about your brand. How would you describe the brand’s style?

We are a mix of streetwear, grime inspired clothes with some luxury, complex and technological pieces.

We want to represent the new generation of Russians that are free and open to the world, who stand against the violence, isolation and propaganda that still can be found in our country and some other countries around the world.

Our style is the mix of contrast, we try to collaborate with creatives from different countries and from different backgrounds so our collections, campaigns and fashion films always mix, our style is constantly changing.

We don’t just want to talk about the clothes or items, the fashion filmmaking is the tool we use to deliver the bigger message. For example the Clean Air project in our collaboration with Greenpeace or in our alternative Olympic Uniform which we made last winter.

What was the inspiration behind the collaborative collection with PUMA?

It’s always different. Mostly we are inspired when we travel and meet local people. We want to mix visions, for example in our South African campaign we collaborated with local artists.

The clash of the contrast visions and styles is the way to get truly inspired.

Describe the collection in one word.

Diversity

What was it like working with such a prestigious brand like PUMA? How did the collaboration come to fruition?

It was smooth, exciting, intensive and very productive collaboration. We had an outstanding relationship and connection with the team.

We were spotted by Puma Russia and the head of Puma Select Yassine Saidi, who offered us the collab. The design was executed in 2 days with the production and marketing taking a further 2 more years.

Could you describe the creative process behind the collection?

Our collection contains a mix of styles and design codes from Russian cultural heritage. We have some oriental pieces such as kimono, Avid Zip shoes and bomber jacket with the flower print inspired by Russian folk books illustrations. These sit alongside the industrial looking tracksuits, dirty Teku sneakers, hiking TrailFox shoes and black bomber jacket with Cyrrilic logo АУТЛО on the back – the phonetical transcription of our brand’s name ‘Outlaw’ in Russian.

The mono colours of red, black and white, and the colour-blocking we did on TrailFox sneakers are a tribute to the art of constructivism, one of the most powerful and well know Russian art epoch.

The Russian style is much more diverse than people think, it’s a combination of the Asian and European approaches to style. The collection also contains military design elements, for example, the backpack is very much based on the tactical bag, with the tracksuits inspired by army jackets.

All these small pieces are combined in a rather minimalistic collection. Also, it was important to us to redesign the PUMA logo and write in Cyrillic – ПУМА. In doing this we localised the collaboration.

What are your personal favourites from the collection and why?

Each of our team has different favourite pieces, so we decided upon a collective favourite:

The TrailFox White – clean, well balanced, dynamic with strong color combination. We added the only blue element of entire collection – a panel on the back of the sneaker. So all the three colours from Russian flag are used there.

Was there a message you wanted to send out through this collection with PUMA?

We wanted to move away from Post-Soviet aesthetics, we think our style is much more diverse. Some people see Russia as a closed and rather isolated country. We wanted to use this opportunity to send the message of diversity, inclusion and tolerance.

We designed the collection in Moscow but wanted to see how it can be styled and seen away from our home. We were however very pleased with the authentic and organic talent we shot for the campaign in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

We wanted no borders and stereotypes, but personal identity and respect to each other no matter your race. The important topic of cross-cultural tolerance is something that should be supported, especially in Russia as it just recently been opened up to the world.

What are your main influences when it comes to design?

Travelling.

Which designers inspire you the most at the moment? What sparked your interest in designing clothes?

We don’t have any specific designer, but rather some pieces from various collections. When we started designing clothes we were very driven by our own inner inspiration and that remains the same today.

What’s the fashion scene like in Russia currently compared to the rest of the world?

It’s growing a lot, there has been a rise of attention to Russia lately so many local artists have become more well known. It is still true that economically the fashion industry is not a sustainable business especially the modern, experimental designers who continue to struggle to receive recognition.

How has your upbringing shaped your interest in fashion?

We are not 100% fashion, we work with film, events and work various non-fashion projects, so we see ourselves as broad creatives. Fashion is just a part of what we do. Di and I met in China and always were fans of Asian and African cultures. Travelling and living in Asia has had a big impact on us.

What advice would you give to young up and coming designers?

To stay true to what you do and to do what you really like, not what others recommend or advise you to do. It is most important to be real and remain who you are.

What’s next for the brand?

We plan to expand to USA and have plans for a big project there which we must keep secret now.

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