Influential fashion industry player with Odessa roots
Becoming the forerunner of street fashion doesn’t happen overnight. Ruslan Karablin has been on the front lines for nearly two decades. A career filled with trials and tribulations, few regrets, and more achievements. Russ’s current advantage is being prepared at the proper time, while the planets are aligned.
Here’s where it gets interesting…
Russ was born in Odessa, the third largest city in the Ukraine, the “Brooklyn of the Former Soviet Union.” Moving to Italy when he was 5, Russ remembers a series of trips via planes, trains, and automobiles that eventually landed him in Coney Island. Though coming from a creative family, art and fashion were never thought to be a career to pursue. An education and profession in art & fashion seemed a fantasy. Art school seemed untouchable. Karablin experienced the shady workings of business when he entered the murky working class of Wall Street. However, Russ could not stay away from the downtown art scene.
The early 90’s is where Russ’s creativity flourished. SSUR, Rebel Ape, Natural Born and The Cut were all conceived in the early 90s. His reakthrough design earned him his first cease and desist and a lawsuit from an established corporation by adding extra leaves to an existing and prominent icon.
“It’s a reflection of who I am. My interests, travels, memories, observations, and opinions. Sex, politics, and protest has always been the mantra.”Ruslan Karablin
Many brands claim to be the first to re-appropriate the Planet of the Apes, but rest assured this was a cultural pop phenomenon that Russ has lead. Continuing with the Russian opulence theme, Caviar Cartel was invented in the late 90s, which led to more mainstream collaborations.
With success come responsibilities and growing pains. In spite of it all, SSUR’s designs continue to maintain a leading demand in street fashion. Russ is focusing more on his fine art these days but will continue to deliver his messages to the masses via pop culture creations and garments. With flagship stores opening in Los Angeles and Shanghai, SSUR© and the Caviar Cartel will continue social disruption in the name of style.
“I’m working hard on giving people quality products that will stimulateRuslan Karablin
their thinking. Content that will beat them in the head instead of put them to sleep.”
The initial SSUR boutique opened on Spring Street in the late ‘90s to enormous cult success, becoming a local hangout of sorts for all his artist friends, who would post-up in the infamous back yard to politic about art, culture, clothing, and everything in between. This was during a time when the term “streetwear” was virtually non-existent, and it was said environment and cast of characters that would eventually lead to its inception.
Now firmly immersed in the industry on both coasts, Karablin’s most recent projects are all about global expansion, like his latest solo show Trafficante.
With each passing day, SSUR continues to expand its reach and vision for longevity, working closely with some of the creative industry’s most innovative minds.
“Considering SSUR© is how I sign my art and pour my life’s work into it, I want to protect it. It’s more than a clothing brand in streetwear and has broader reach. I can’t just restart if this gets misrepresented and eventually watered down. This is my life, not just a job.”Ruslan Karablin
Recently SSUR set up two shops in Odessa:
34, Preobrazhenskaya str.
12 Arcadia Beach