There have been suggested different AD1 theories as to why theAD2 subcultures are formed. Since it has been known as a social phenomenon, the social and political issues of a certain area have to be investigated in order to understand a reason behind its emergence. The first theory of subculture formation AD3 was developed in the 1920s by theAD4 sociology scholars at the Chicago school. After the existence of a deviant behavior was explored the deviance was discussed as a product of social problems within society. According to this statement the subculture can be given a definition of a collective deviance. The research had indicated that the subculturists were appeared to be young, middle class individuals, which describes their desire to act out in resistance to mainstream and hegemonic social values. The subcultures’ nature is based on protest to dominant cultural values. Since a certain self-identification is shared only among a tight group of individuals such phenomena as subculture is being perceived as an underground and exclusive movement.
However, in the digitized 21stAD5 due to the rise of the social media platforms the lines between subcultures and a trend AD6 have started to blur. By being associated with an ‘underground’, subcultures have always been perceived unreachable for a ‘mass market customer’. The subculture AD7 plays a role of ‘home’ for those who haven’t AD8 found it within the dominant culture. Together with an ‘outsider’ status those people have been sharing beliefs, taste in fashion and music even despite having different backgrounds in domain culture. According to cultural historian David Muggleton subcultures can no longer exist within the ‘social media world’s’ frame the way they have always been before: “Whether apolitical, reactionary, or radical, subcultures of this type typically aim for exclusivity and distinction by defining themselves against the dominant or mainstream fashionable standards of the time” (2010). After becoming accessible to masses subcultures have lost their appeal and became nearly a trend. The ‘secret identities’ of subcultures are being mainstreamed by the key figures in fashion when used as a source of inspiration.
This thesis will analyze two case studies in order to further understand the nature of this topic. The first case looks into the formed subculture around the 90’s Russian rave scenes of St. Petersburg. The paper will discuss the reasons behind the 90s-rave comeback in Russia as well as the long-lasting effect of this particular subculture. This case will also examine the extent to which the style of forgotten 90s rave scenes of St. Petersburg shaped the modern Russian rave look. The second case study will be looking at Gosha Rubchinsky a modern Russian designer of a label Gosha Rubchinsky. He will be examined for the subject of Russian rave being more of a trend created by him rather than a newly formed subculture. AD9 Subsequently there will be discussed as to why the modern subcultures don’t have a long-lasting call on a base of the comparative analysis between the modern Russian rave subculture and its 90s predator.
Subcultures were formed because of the rebellion of a certain group of people against the social system. If the social standards of those times when subcultures existed in their conventional form were to be compared to the modern fluid society the urge for such phenomena would substantially decrease. Unlike its 21st generation descendants the youth of the 20s century was not gifted with a various amount of styles to choose of. If to be more precise there existed only one ‘accepted’ style that everyone had to follow or otherwise you would end up being an outsider. Subcultures were created by those who had found themselves different from the crowd and felt an urge to express their individuality through provocative outfits. AsAD10 was mentioned by dress historian Dick Hebdigein in his book ‘Subculture the Meaning of Style’: “The struggle between different discourses, different definitions and meanings within ideology is therefore always, at the same time, a struggle within signification: as struggle for possession of the sign which extends to even the most mundane areas of everyday life. …Style in subculture is, then, pregnant with significance. Its transformations go ‘against nature’, interrupting the process of ‘normalization’. As such, they are gestures, movements towards a speech which offends the ‘silent majority’, which challenges the principle of unity and cohesion, which contradicts the myth of consensus”.(AD11 2012) The formation of style has a rebellious nature that has been developed by its wearers. In the modern world society subcultures lose their appeal due to the existence of various style directions. Instead of forming a subculture some people either prefer to stay independent or follow the mass media’s created mainstream wave.
Currently Russia is going through a period of rapid and radical social and political changes. Being in the transition state people start losing their sense of belonging, which have risen a need for a new subculture to be formed. After the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2013 Russia has been treated as an enemy among all European nations, which led to the economic slowdown inside the state. It is known that any change in political or social system leads to crisis and rise of rebellious and aggressive movements. Due to the governmental system, the chances of being heard in Russia are very low, so instead of protesting on the streets some people are looking for alternatives to express their rage. AD12 A murky future of the state in combination with a political instability drowned people in depression. The ‘kids of chaos’ were looking for escape, a place where they could disappear with a same-minded AD13 crowd. The urge for such place was rising amongst Russian youth, which led to the resurgence of a AD14 rave subculture.
The rave movement was born in the 80s in the UK consisting of all-night parties and drug use to heighten the sensual experience. By being an underground and illegal phenomena, raves were found appealing by the Russian youth, AD15 which was still Soviet at that time. The St. Petersburg artist who were privileged to leave the country borders brought raves from the Western Europe to Russia. The rave subculture was adopted accordingly to the local cultural frame and has been developed into a massive cult in Russia.
The first rave parties took a place in the north capital of Russia St. Petersburg. The city has always had a rebellious nature, protesting against an unfair social norm. The formation of Russian rave subculture has begun in Soviet Union, when the borders were still closed. Even though the’ iron curtain’ was still in operation the political system was crumbling and was about to AD16 collapse. An anthropology professor Alexei Yurchak AD17 refers to Soviet Union as toAD18 pesky and boring epoch when ‘you had nowhere to go in the evenings and at night, and the only thing to do was drinking vodka pointlessly in the kitchen with your clever friends or dance in the corner of your communal apartment’. AD19 The Russian rave subculture had not appeared out of a void it AD20 was a reflection of the dynamic changes of the late socialism. The period of its emergence was very significant for the state when the Russian youth had shown a certain opposition to the dominant culture through the newly created ‘counterculture’. Despite of their revolutionary appeal the nature of the Russian rave subculture could not be called aggressive, since their purpose was mostly based on a desire to replace the states oppressions with a meaningful life and a freedom of choice. The Russian youth preferred to ‘avoid’ the state’s power passively conforming it and being involved into complete incongruent practices behind its back. According to the quote: “They pretend that they pay us and we pretend that we workAD21 ” it could be assumed that the relations between the state and its citizens were based on insincerity. The non-official cultural phenomenon of the late Soviet and the early post-Soviet years, including the modern Russian rave subculture were the product of the double-sided Soviet’s universe logic.
The Russian rave roots take AD23 their origins in the ‘forgotten’ building on Fontanka River 145 in Leningrad city. The ‘new type’ of subculture was organized by the group of nonofficial Soviet artists and musicians who were privileged to leave the country borders and later to bring the western artists to the city for the all-night dance parties organizations. Despite the fact that the group of Soviet artist was more privileged than the ‘normal’ citizens the all-night dance parties and raves could not exist within the state, since it was in contrary to the state’s ideology. From the words of one of those artists who visited the West: ‘In 1988 in Stockholm I went to the club called Mars located in a former subway station … the DJ played records and decided to that we must have this in Petersburg’. The inspiration for the Russian rave venue has originated from the states oppression as well as the Western idea of having those parties at the non-traditional places such as subways, factories, and art galleries. The place had played a significant role in a development of Russian rave. In the 1980s when PerestroikaAD24 (reconstruction) has started many buildings in the city center were unoccupied and did not belong to anyone, which inspired the Russian artists to develop them into semi-minded crowd meeting points. AD25 The atmosphere of the ‘forgotten’ buildings in combination with an idea of ‘forbidden fruit’ has found a response within the Soviet youth and their style changed accordingly to the place. While the normal Soviet citizens were dressed ‘appropriate’ and dullAD26 the ravers have perceived their outfits as a separate being, which has been allowing them to express their deepest fashion desire. Soviet ravers liked to combine boxy sporty look with bright colors in order to achieve the complete opposition to traditional soviet suit and tie style. After a long time of being oppressed and restricted by the sate the Russian rave sAD27 ubculture has believed in freedom in all of its aspects and has been choosing ‘free’ clothes that would not restrict their moves. The created subculture around that ‘club’: its lifestyle, beliefs and fashion has served as an inspiration for many modern Russian designers and newly found brands.
Each subculture has a reason behind its emergence and sometimes it is being created and popularized by a certain individual. In the case of modern Russian rave subculture Russian designer Gosha Rubchinsky has played a key role in its development. Gosha Rubchinsky by being known as a creator of a new Russian look has been using the rave subculture as a platform for his collections. He personally believes that this subculture has a tendency of growing and he is the one to support that. It is a common fact that teenagers strive to find their ‘true’ identities by experimenting with different social groups. The early adolescents strong desire to conform to the standards of their subculture makes them extremely brand conscious. And they are especially interested in the products that express their identity, including art, music, fashion and social media platforms. In one of the interviews for ID Magazine Gosha Rubchinsky compared a younger generation to a Litmus paper by sharing the same feature of reflecting the hidden reality. Gosha Rubchinsky has given a Russian Rave subculture an identity by bringing back the style of the first Soviet ravers. Even though the designer was not the reason behind the subculture resurgence he has guided it in the direction it is being seen now.
A prominent example of how Gosha Rubchinsky interprets his Soviet Rave Scenes inspiration into his garment is through the Spring/ Summer 2018 collection. The show held a place at a significant for the Russian Rave spot, in the north capital of Russia St. Petersburg. The collection consisted of two themes: football and electronica. The electronica part has stood for the first Soviet Rave scenes of St. Petersburg and was portrayed not only through the displayed garments, but also through the venue of the show – “the Communication Workers’ House of Culture on Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa”. Gosha Rubchinsky’s purpose was to plunge the crowd into the old Soviet atmosphere in order to awake the necessary emotions that would unite the visitors. That could be perceived as an official 90s Russian Rave come back. Figure 3 showcases the extracted Spring/Summer 2018 runway looks. Gosha Rubchinsky himself described his clothes as “a mix of sportswear with a nightclub rave feeling”. The collection’s main focus was on electric styling, prints and colors. The highlights of the collection were the collaboration with Adidas football for some pieces of athletic wear. The clubber pieces consisted of acid-bright tops with 90s iconography as well as Gosha Rubchinsky name motifs reworked in a Cyrillic; the flak vest with a pocket for the water bottle for the case of all-night parties. Even though his garments might seem simple from the first sight when the viewer gets to know the story behind them it completely changes the perception of Gosha Rubchinsky work in general. His target market is the young Russians, who are willing to express themselves through all possible ways. Gosha Rubchinsky derives his inspiration from the youth subcultures, including the music they listen to or places they use to hang out in as well as the temper and a feeling of freedom. In order to better understand a nature of a certain subculture he gets himself fully involved into it by living the same lifestyle and spending time with its representatives. However, when the underground is being brought to the runways it loses its purpose of being a uniting element for those who find themselves different from the main culture.