Watch Moscow’s youth muse on love, tolerance and masculinity

Inspired by growing up in 90s Russia, designer Dasha Selyanova went back to the motherland to capture its new generation

“I think the world should expect a Russian fashion wave,” says Saint Petersburg born, London-based designer Dasha Selyanova of brand ZDDZ, who last season hit NYC to show with VFiles. “Russia is a very exciting place in a way, a new blank space in terms of fashion and a great canvas to work with.” For Kids, a film directed by Sasha Molochnikov and named after Larry Clark’s 1995 tale of adolescence in the era of the AIDS crisis, the designer went back to the motherland to street-cast a group of young Moscow residents to muse on life, love and everything in between, unscripted and uncensored. “I wanted to capture the latest generation of kids in Moscow just as they are; with their carelessness and seriousness; with their awkwardness and struggles; with their everyday problems and thoughts,” she says of the film, which features the brand’s AW15 collection. Watch it above, and read on to find out what inspired her.

What were the references behind this collection?

Dasha Selyanova: Workwear catalogues, military uniforms, care labels, and photos and memories from my youth spent in Saint Petersburg in the 90s, when I was hanging out with a group of rappers called ‘The Dragons’. 

What inspired you about the kids in Moscow, and how are they different from where you grew up?

Dasha Selyanova: Although I am from Saint Petersburg, I lived in Moscow for about seven years in the early 2000s. There has always been this made up idea of opposition between Moscow and Saint Petersburg and I think that with this video, I wanted to show that kids are just kids, regardless of what their geographical circumstances are. One of the characters in the film actually mentions that when she is depressed she either wants to get a new hair cut or to go to Saint Petersburg, which was not scripted (none of it was) and I thought that was sweet. There are no boundaries or opposition. We create them when we grow up, when we become this thing called ‘adult’.

“With this video, I wanted to show that kids are just kids, regardless of what their geographical circumstances are” – Dasha Selyanova

What did you want to show with the film? 

Dasha Selyanova: I did not want to make any statement, I just wanted to show this new emerging generation of kids and pay tribute to my own youth. What these kids were saying when I was filming them with my iPhone, during the casting, inspired me so much that I thought “that’s it”. It’s just going to be a film about them as they are, although it is very personal as well as I am coming up to my 30th birthday this summer and it is a sort of a closure for me.

What’s your favourite moment?

My favourite moment in the film is when Grisha (the guy in the red hoody) says that human beings don’t need anything or anyone. That we have everything we need from the very beginning.

What do you think people in the UK don’t realise about growing up in Russia? Do you think they get a bad impression from Western media? 

Dasha Selyanova: I think there is great lack of understanding. It seems to me as if like people only hear about extremists, people being killed and Crimea. Little is known about ordinary life, unfortunately. Here in London and especially in the UK generally, Russia is expected to be a little backward in many ways. People only know little bits of information about it from the high profile news and high profile news tends to be bad. 

I think what people in London don’t realise is that we were not exposed to as much information that British people were exposed to, which makes us interesting and unique. We developed in different circumstances, in a more closed environment, which means we had to be more inventive, more curious, eager to find things out and to get our hands on something new, because we were so deprived. I think it is a quite common quality all my friends have, that we are eager to receive new info. We are curious about everything!