Hennessy V.S invited us out to celebrate the grand opening of SSUR’s new Los Angeles flagship, located in a historically Russian neighborhood on Santa Monica Blvd, last Thursday (June 5). As the night’s activities progressed, we were given the chance to speak with the man responsible for the night’s celebration: Ruslan Karablin.
His name holds incredible weight in the streetwear industry and downtown art world. An OG in every sense of the word, Russ originally honed his skill set as an artist, only later applying his talent to clothing with the founding of SSUR, as a means to promote his artwork in the 1990s. In the decades since, he’s inspired countless brands and is regarded as one of the original purveyors of the no-nonsense tough guy aesthetic.
As we walked down to meet Russ, we entered a dimly lit back room that felt like a scene straight from The Godfather. Surrounded by a curious display of vintage guns and antique Soviet artifacts sat the man we were to interview, unfaltered by the commotion of the night, with a Hennessy V.S adorned beverage in hand. From art to fashion, Russ truly embodies Hennessy V.S’s mantra of Never Stop. Never Settle.
On the significance Soviet Russia has on SSUR…
My father is Ukrainian and I was born there as well. My cultural roots have always had a significant impression on my life and interests.
SSUR is known for its serious aesthetic and mature themes, is this deliberate or is it simply a reflection of your own personality?
It’s a reflection of who I am. My interests, travels, memories, observations, and opinions. Sex, politics, and protest has always been the mantra.
Is contemporary streetwear too soft?
It can be. I don’t really concern myself with it.
Why Los Angeles, and why now?
It made sense with the brand’s growth. I wanted to have a place to bring friends and a second home when traveling. The new flagship allows us to stock, sell, and operate from both coasts.
Location: 7710 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046
Photography credit: Mark Klopping