Cast your attention to Roxwear, the label redefining youth from post-Soviet Asia. Based in Kazakhstan their latest collection, Episode 4: Futurasia has risen to the surface as Roxwear solidifies themselves as a staple streetwear brand.
The world of Futurasia is filled with spaceships, androids and flying yurts – its imagery is inspired by the best of what was available on VHS from behind the iron curtain. It's a simultaneous lesson in history and a study of the future of the nomadic culture and lifestyle, a true retro-futurism.
The concept behind Futurasia is built on dreams and aspirations of an entire generation, who’s FOMO has been redlining long before the advent of social media. With Futurasia, Roxwear revived traditional nomadic items of clothing, hand-made and hand-crafted pieces, all re-examined through a prism of the cyberpunk genre.
Traditional nomadic vests were given new life through denim and studs as the collection remixes traditional national ornaments to give them a bad-guy tattoo aesthetic. Roxwear dreamt of what a techno-shaman would look like with the shaman dress. They crafted traditional saka animalistic elements a technogenic treatment to turn them into vibrant prints.
Join us and dive into the cyberpunk world of Roxwear and explore the nomadic aesthetic with Futurasia as we chat with founder Roxana Adilbekova below.
When did you find out that you wanted to be a designer?
My grandmother was an art historian of Central Asia, particularly focusing on applied arts, so I experienced a lot of our culture and history through her stories, and was given a lot of academic context to everyday objects. I feel that our region has a lot to offer culturally, and I'd love to share that story with people who are unfamiliar with our culture. I always wanted to create something that can tell that story. The fabric just happened to be the canvas I was most familiar and comfortable with.
Describe the creative process behind your designs?
I think of a final result first, how I want it to look in the end. I ask myself questions: what feelings and thoughts will this particular piece inspire? What is the practical use? Who is the person who’s going to connect and identify with it? I also look a lot into the history of Central Asia and explore our culture, as there are many nations in Central Asia, that share certain aspects of the culture, but each with their own unique twist. It has become a sort of a healing experience for me. Not so long ago I have been so fed up with the political situation in my country, but with the help of my artistic process, I started to look at those things from a different perspective, trying to redefine them for myself. There is a word in Russian, that describes the soviet state of mind – “sovok”. The word carries a lot of negativity, so I tried to embrace “sovok” in a self-ironic, positive way. The old Soviet interiors, corner-shops and ornaments, are all so embedded into our people’s minds as the most basic and boring aspects of our life, so I decided to give them a second life, recreating them in a modern way and using them as a vehicle to tell the story of youth in post-Soviet Asia.
What's usual Roxwear clientele like?
Most of our clientele are people from Europe and the US. We also work with a store in Shibuya, Tokyo. The traditional craftsmanship that is a the heart of our collections is undoubtfully something not only new and novel for people outside our region, but also is very forward-thinking in the fact that it’s sustainable and eco-friendly.
What does being a designer mean to you?
I think that a designer’s job is to rethink and improve. I don’t think that design for the sake of design is the right attitude towards the creation of something, the design should carry purpose with it.
When making your designs, what are your three biggest rules?
Make sure it is something that will bring value.
We are only beginning to work with influencers, as we try to explore different niches and people around the world and where we can be a great fit. First and foremost we’re looking for the people who represent what we stand for, and only after we focus on the way that our clothes fit, their following and their target audience. We’re looking for things in common, so we can build a bridge between our cultures. From our experience, we found out that working with influencers from the post-Soviet region is the most fun since they totally get our concept and how they can style our pieces in a fresh kind of way.
Which celeb would you love to dress in Roxwear?
I would love to see MIA in our clothes, I’m a huge fan and think that the clothes are really close to her aesthetic.
In your opinion which of your designs are your favourite & why?
I feel that the pièce de résistance of the collection is the Felted Wool Chapan. We strived to transform a traditional piece of clothing so popular in Central Asia, among Persians and Turkic nomads, into something modern that wouldn’t feel out of place in an urban environment. Using millennia-old handcrafting techniques of wool felting, we tried to create a Chapan one can wear every day. I think that we managed to create something that you can mix and match with any piece of clothing and have fun with.
What's the next step for Roxwear?
We are looking to improve our exposure, start working with more stores, and collaborating with our peers to mix cultures and styles.