Behind The Brand: A Conversation with Ruslan Baginskiy
We spoke to the founder of the namesake brand Ruslan Baginskiy about his inspirations and ethos, and the much-loved 'Baker Boy Hat'.
Tell us a bit about the initial concept behind the brand.
The brand’s story begins in 2015 when I opened a small millinery in Lviv, Ukraine. In 2016 the company moved to Kyiv and I started to create four collections per year.
The brand’s iconic design is both classic and innovative, it's also rich in memorable details: handmade embroidery in naïve styles, pearls, chains, removable pins and RB monogram.
It was also important to me to combine fashion and art in the brand’s DNA, that is why last summer I presented our first-ever haute couture collection in Paris.
What is the ethos and values of Ruslan Baginskiy?
I want every member of my team to feel that we’re family. I will never hire a person with values different from mine, no matter what position it is. I want to surround myself with people that understand how important is to be kind, respectful, responsible, fair and loyal. Our business is not about making money; we want everyone to be happy doing their job. Did you know that all my family is in the production team? My mum, my dad, my younger brother all work alongside me, and I want them to enjoy their time at work.
Ruslan Baginskiy is a worldwide brand, but I always want to send a clear message that I’m from Ukraine. That is why my first collection was inspired by traditional Ukrainian handmade techniques. I also collaborated with two Ukrainian artists: Nikolay Tolmachev designed provocative invitations; and Maria Kulikovska, the founder of a feminist organisation Body and Borders and sculptor, created the full-height statue and six busts to serve as mannequins.
Your designs are modern reinventions of classic pieces, how are the designs developed?
I love vintage magazines, pictures of my grandparents when they were young, black and white movies. They remind me of the time when a hat wasn’t just an accessory, it was an essential part of the men’s and women’s wardrobe. I like to bring a new life to classic shapes. For example, I remember a picture of my mother wearing a baker boy cap in the 1990s, it was the inspiration behind our most popular style to date and a style that’s never out of fashion.
Tell us a bit about your current collection and what is to come for Ruslan Baginskiy.
For the SS20 collection, I designed a range of styles that meet your needs for headwear completely. Night out? Satin Baker Boy Cap embroidered with crystals and the chain embellished Canotier Hat in felt. The tasseled Straw Hat and Gambler Hat with leather details are perfect for a vacation in Africa, Southern Italy, or the Greek islands. And of course, don’t forget about the new colour options of our Baker Boy Cap. We never focus on one style; we
want our customers always have a choice.
How would describe the modern/unstated woman?
I think modern women are never the same, but at the same time, she never loses herself. She can mix brands with totally different style, she can listen to pop and rap, she can read Russian classic literature and watch stupid videos on Youtube. She knows what is sustainability and doing her best to live in a better and cleaner world. She cares about politics and knows how to avoid fake news. She likes healthy food, but will not blame herself for McDonald's late-night delivery. She can be a president if she wants, or a housewife for own choice. Women and their strength are my eternal source of inspiration.
What kind of woman is Ruslan Baginskiy made for?
It is complicated to create a portrait of only one woman when considering who our hats are made for. Ruslan Baginskiy girls live all over the world, they dress different from one another, they look different from one another. She could be very minimalistic or dressed up to the nines. My mission is to make headwear as important to a women’s wardrobe as shoes or handbags, that is why I don't know what makes me happier; seeing Madonna wearing our hats or meeting an unknown girl in Paris in my Baker Boy Cap, their both fulfilling!