Young Vyacheslav Zaycev
Valentin Yudashkin's collection in 1987
Soviet fashion was created in the home. Lack of access to any kind of clothes, fabrics or accessories led to the creation of handmade, one-off designs based on sketches shared between friends and family. Sowing machines were Soviet women's must-haves.
The 1940's were dedicated to making army clothes and the Second World War left very little time for fashion. Post war 50's saw a rise in the desire to look and feel better. Some artists, sportsmen and the like were even allowed to travel outside the USSR and that is how the first stylish and modern garments appeared in the fashion starved Soviet cities.
However, it was the 60's that really brought fashion into the lives of Soviet women. Before that being fashionable and stylish was definitely not in fashion. You had to make do with mass produced garments that would ensure that you didn't get noticed. To get a glimpse of Eastern European fashion would be a real treat, let alone seeing what was happening in the West. And to buy a new top or a skirt after several hours of queuing up would be an actual celebration. Any kind of fashion shows that did exist in Soviet Russia would not be open to the general public. But of course, where there is a will, there is a way. Lack of access to clothes became the foundation for a lengthy love affair with man-made fabrics like polyester and nylon which were considered easy to wear and clean. But despite all that the 60's were the beginning of Soviet fashion with the arrival of first Soviet supermodels like Mila Romanovskaya, Liliana Baskakova, Valentina Yashina and legendary Russian fashion designer Vyacheslav Zaycev.
Soviet fashion started to properly develop in the 70's when it became acceptable to want to look good and dress well. These were the times when sewing and knitting became part of everyday life.
The 80's with their access to fashion magazines both foreign and Soviet ( in particular the hugely popular "Burda" magazine as well as “Siluet” and “Zhurnal Mod”) and emergence of another celebrated Russian designer Valentin Yudashkin firmly put Soviet fashion on the map.