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Pop Culture Through the Lens of Russian Designer Katya Dobryakova

From jeans made with clear PVC patches to $425 “dirty” jeans, the internet is abuzz this summer with eccentric denim. However, contemporary Russian fashion designer, Katya Dobryakova, is making a statement in the denim community with her hand painted and embroidered jean jackets that retail for $400 and up.

Dobryakova founded her eponymous line of women’s apparel in 2010, offering sweatshirts, jean jackets and T-shirts with a pop culture twist. She famously featured Russian President Vladimir Putin on her first T-shirt designs—a move she told Nu Mode she’s no longer interested in pursuing—but it did help her gain a fan base in her home country.

After expanding her brand throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Dobryakova opened her first U.S. store in 2016 located on Broome Street in New York City. In typical New York fashion, New Yorkers have taken a fancy to Dobryakova’s denim jackets.

Dobryakova’s current collection of oversized unisex jackets tells a wild jungle story, featuring sunglass-wearing flamingos and polka dot baboons. The embroidery has a child-like nature, resembling a crayon drawing, but is made with great attention to color and texture.

For Fall ’17, the designer deconstructs the images of pop culture icons like Beyoncé, Jay Z and Britney Spears, resulting in a range of jean jackets with Cubism-inspired embroidered artwork. Dobryakova said she chose to focus on pop icons due to her admiration and the “American dream” they represent.

“Beyoncé is such a genius woman, who can combine her career and family and kids and so on,” she said. “That’s why I decided to make a kind of version of Beyoncé and Jay Z in a Picasso way.”

Dobryakova said the jackets have been successful all around the world, adding that customers are doubling their orders.

The brand can now add ShopBop to its growing list of retailers. The last time Dobryakova was in New York, she took an Uber Pool with a passenger who is friends with the online store’s head buyer.

“I told him, ‘I know ShopBop and can you please tell your friend to come and see the collection,’” she recalled. “We are happy together and god bless Uber Pool.”