New East Digital Archive

Jahnkoy: the New York-based Russian fashion label celebrating a new multiculturalism

Siberian-born designer Maria Kazakova’s fashion label Jahnkoy is about connection and the collective

11 December 2017

Nominated for the LVMH prize in 2017, Jahnkoy’s founder and designer Maria Kazakova defies preconceptions around nationalities and borders. Born in Siberia, she set-up Jahnkoy in New York, a perfect city for the powerful, celebratory energy of anew multiculturalism.

Kazakova’s work is an intricate patchwork of influences, references and material artefacts: reworked sportswear, crystals, plastic bags, soda cans, feathers, little bits from bodega stores, traditional Russian red and white embroidery and the bold shapes of Constructivist slogans. The cryptic name Jahnkoy stands for “New Spirit Village”. Spawned at Parsons School of Design, where Kazakova showed her first collection in 2016, it’s no accident the brand doesn’t bear its founder’s name — from the outset its ethos and goals have been less to do with individual recognition and more to do with uniting people and transcending the world’s borders.

Jahnkoy is clearly about connection and the collective — collective creativity, collective action and collective responsibility. The most recent collection, Displaced, draws on fast fashion and its catastrophic effects — “the donations of Western clothes to the African continent, and the way it brings destruction to artisanal crafts, tradition and culture”. It’s powered by the knowledge that the purchase of a $10 dress in one corner of the world can lead to environmental and cultural crisis in a community thousands of miles away. Jahnkoy is the brand we need not just today, but tomorrow: environmentally conscious, non-conformist and created with a passion for change.