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Sergey Kovelenov: Back to Basics With Style

Published: July 9, 2014 (Issue # 1819)



  • Sergey Kovelenov is the founder and CEO of the Oh, my clothing company.
    Photo: Oh, My

  • The philosophy behind the label is basic colors for everyday wear.
    Photo: Oh, My

  • Oh, My creates designs for both to men and women.
    Photo: Oh, My

T-shirts, socks, jackets — everyone has certain clothes they wear everyday. However, there are very few options available in the Russian market for those who want to purchase the basics with most locals buying foreign brands for their wardrobe. However, a group of young Russians have decided to take it upon themselves to prove that Russia is able to produce its own fashionable and basic clothing and, in 2008, they entered the market with Oh, my, a clothing label that produces basic items in just three colors — black, white and gray — and sells only online.

The St. Petersburg Times recently spoke with Sergey Kovelenov, CEO of Oh, my, about the benefits of being an online store, production difficulties in Russia and how the young entrepreneur started selling clothes.

Q: How did the idea to start your own clothing label come about?

A: The idea of Oh, my first started in 2008 when my friend and I were relaxing on the Gulf of Finland, talking about life and the future. I did not plan to sew and sell clothes — I just wanted to create something everyone would like. Clothing production turned out to be the easiest thing. Basic clothing items will always be necessary wardrobe items, so I targeted that. Our motto is “Basic clothing will save Russia.”

Q: Why just basic clothing? Is this a big sector in the local fashion market?

A: There is no big market for basic clothing items in Russia yet. I don’t see any major competitors among Russian companies, just foreign brands like Benetton, Gap or H&M. Of course, Oh, my is not a significant brand to them but we are the only clothing brand in Russia that produces everyday items for people of any gender, age or occupation. We think we have a chance to become the main Russian company in this market.

Q: Your production is based in five factories in Russia. Is this an advantage?

A: There are companies that sew things in Russia but it is not on a large scale. Production in Russia is three to four times more expensive than in China. For us, the idea of creating a national Russian label is more important than profit now. We hope people buy our clothes because they are proud to wear true Russian apparel and understand that Oh, my is made in Russia. We are not going to lower the cost of production by making our clothes in Asia.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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