DELADA MEN'S and PREVIEW of WOMEN'S  SS 18 - Collection 3

Memories of the “Chelnoki”


Collection 3 draws inspiration from the transitional years during the tumultuous 1990’s after the end of the Soviet Union. The end of communist rule in Russia brought political change, but it also caused economic meltdown and a supply crisis with everyday goods suddenly no longer available in shops. But these challenging times brought out ingenuity and perseverance in society to find solutions to any problem, and out of this economic ruin rose a new form of shady underground trading and illegal importing, smuggling goods from abroad at any risk and in large quantities using ingenious ways. This smuggler and illegal trader movement brought forth a new character in society – and the “Chelnoki” as they were known in colloquial Russian came to prominence. Chelnoki was a loose and general term for the ingenious traders that managed to smuggle and bring in and sell all kinds of basic goods from countries like China and Poland and other neighboring states for sale back home. The need for all basic goods led to a mass movement including large scale “shopping tours” organized to smuggle basic goods back into Russia. On their return the Chelnoki were also often referred to as the bag people, traveling back with cheap colourful plastic-reinforced cotton bags full of goods and knick-knacks for sale in markets and on the streets in Russia.

In order to carry and take as many goods as possible on them and on their bodies, Chelnoki would create unique and simple ways of smuggling goods by wearing many layers of clothes, and sewing hidden or not-so-hidden pockets, pouches and compartments inside clothing to stash goods, and even creating special vests with customised pockets to carry and conceal Vodka and other bottles in their clothing. 

The rise of the Chelnoki was the people’s response to survive through the illegal mass trade of everyday goods, and was a testament to the spirit of survival of the Russian and Soviet people when faced with hardship like never seen before.



Taking inspiration from the Chelnoki’s ingenuity and creativity and their method of trade and goods movement, the SS18 Collection 3 brings back this ingenious time of creative solutions for challenging times, using the Chelnoki’s travels and journeys and their creative clothing they wore as an inspiration, recreating utilitarian garments which could have been useful during this period. 

With concealed pockets, unseen storage areas within blazers and disguised pockets that transform into holding pouches keeping the spirit of the Chelnoki alive, creative and utilitarian-looking garment pieces bring their ingenuity into the 21st century through this DELADA SS18 collection. 

The collection features oversized pieces that would have been perfect for smuggling: Trenchcoats that feature pockets that can be converted into larger pouches ideal for smuggling, jackets and blazers that open on one side to reveal additional layers to hide things, shirts with many layers and hidden pockets, completed with utilitarian-looking belts and accessories ideal for long smuggling trips.

The materials and fabrics also reflect the ingenious period of this time. Rigid and reinforced heavier structural fabrics and materials dominate, with durable strong fabrics and materials chosen and favored for the designs. Coated cotton is used in various pieces, reminiscent of the coated cotton utility storage bags used by the traders of the times, and check patterns also remind of the colorful plastic storage bags of bye-gone times. Use of clear and transparent PVC in belts reminds further of clear plastic used to wrap goods for transport to illegal markets, and use of plastic materials in general remind of the plastic imports so commonly smuggled in and traded by the Chelnoki.

Following on from DELADA’s recent successes, the designer also stays true to herself, introducing once again a very playful collection with styles that can be worn and styled in multiple creative ways, allowing the wearer to be playful and expressive and continuously finding and making new discoveries by creatively styling and wearing the pieces in many different ways. DELADA also continues previous themes and styles by keeping the key shapes for which the brand has become known and recognized for, but reinventing them for Collection 3 with new fabrics and new looks in line with the inspiration for this newest collection.

The Men's Collection and Women's Pre-Collection for SS18 was presented to press and buyers at D /ARK /CONCEPT /PARIS 23-28 June 2017( ).