When we first heard of Girls From Omsk, we somehow imagined yet another sketchy service that would set you up with a pretty mail-order bride. It turns out it’s actually a Belgian fashion brand – are we to expect shiny leggings and fur collars, then?
Writer Jill Mathieu
Perhaps, because clichéd Russian kitsch holds a strong part in Valeria Siniouchkina’s heritage, the Girl From Omsk herself. “When I arrived in Belgium from Moscow aged 14, I initially disowned my Russianness. It was not until I started studying fashion that I made peace with my roots and started looking to Russia for inspiration. For my graduation collection at La Cambre, I envisioned these girls that came from Omsk, which in my head was a small town from which they wanted to get out of in order to see the world. From that point on, I couldn’t let go of Omsk anymore.” The imprint’s growing army of fans aren’t the type to fret over what others may think about them, their confidence in their singular style a good case in point. They wear practical hoodies and tees, whilst paying attention to the details: no run-of-the-mill prints and boring basics, there’s always a twist or quirk that will catch your eye. Is this what girls in Omsk look like? “Russians are very honest, they’re bad at lying. The same goes for my designs, they are authentic. Russian girls are groomed and styled from head to toe, it’s kind of kitsch, but I like that. My mom would always wear a nice pair of heels, do her hair, make-up and paint her nails. I like to toy around with this eastern gaudiness and add a sense of practicality to it. That Russian feel is in everything I make, for instance the T-shirt with a print of Russia’s first rock and roll singer Viktor Tzoy. I want to spread this piece of my culture.”
Below are some catwalk shots from the brand’s all Russian show titled “Omsk is my home”, held last weekend at the Libertine Supersport nightclub in Brussels.
Catch regular Word contributor Ulrike Biets’ Omsk Army exhibition – featuring the likes of Els Pynoo from Vive La Fête or Bent Van Looy from Das Pop wearing the brand – on display at K-nal until 11th December.