Stone Island Special - The Russian Plug: Nick Prishchep
If you're not an active collector, seller or a devoted follower of Stone Island, then you probably haven’t heard of Nick Prishchep. However, if you’ve been riding the Stone Island vintage wave for a while - you most probably still haven't heard of him… Nonetheless, I can almost guarantee that you have come across one or even several of his garments (a jacket, vest, bag, duffle coat… whatever it is) that has been touched, sold, traded or is linked to Nick.
Nick has been selling Stone Island for a long time and even though he has always managed to stay low key, his connections to the brand, his passion for it and his knowledge are far greater than you can imagine. Especially from someone who is not constantly Instagram flexing the brand and his pieces 24/7 (I’m talking about you and me).
Nick first introduced himself to me over his old (and now hacked/deleted) Instagram account (here is his new one), to tell me that one of my favourite jackets originally left his hands before I could buy it from a shop in the UK. Friendships often occur when two people got the same interest in something, and this is what happened with me and Nick through our shared passion for concrete jungles, booze, the life of a geezer and Stone Island; so over the last few years we have shared many drunken videos, stories and sometimes even talked about… Stone Island.
A couple of parcels, and a hell of a lot of messages later, I knew that Nick’s very own story and Russia’s connection to Stone Island was something I really badly wanted and needed to write about. Across the globe, Stone Island has many fans and followers and especially in Russia and the Ukraine you will find a diverse and interesting group of people that have their very own views and interpretations of the brands aesthetics and lifestyle around it.
Nick Prishchep adds his very own Saint Petersburg editorial and Q&A to this Stone Island Special, and I am (again) more than happy to have one of my friends and plugs (thank me big time for sharing this major key with you) in this series. Welcome Nick, hi Russia:
Stone Island Special - The Russian Plug: Nick Prishchep
Hi my friend! Can you please introduce yourself to Biancissimo! Who are you and where are you from?
Hi! My name is Nick. Originally I’m from a small Russian town called Smolensk. My father is an officer and my mom works as a librarian. Surprisingly enough I was always into something more interesting like fashion or design. When I passed my final exams at school I had an opportunity of moving to Saint-Petersburg and study there. Then I dived into reading articles on clothing and researching this subject (university has never been my thing, it still isn't). Once I came across an article regarding Massimo Osti. I immediately fell in love with all of his projects, but most of all Stone Island.
From all over the world people are falling in love with Stone Island, Nick. Can you somehow explain why this is happening what’s your role in that universe?
Stone Island is like a drug. Once you've tried it you are SI addicted. There are some people that can quit it easily. Others continue to buy it on and on. I'm a drug dealer in this point – I have my own clients and I sometimes keep a part of the product for me.
Can you please explain to Biancissimo what Stone Island means to you?
To me Stone Island is great history and amazing design. Each piece makes me tremble with excitement. At the same time, it's a great opportunity to make money.
When did you first heard about the brand and why exactly you did you fall in love with it?
Now I can’t really remember when and how it was. The only thing I remember that it was online. I came across articles, I read and I fell in love. I started saving money and looking for something perfect for me. In a couple of months I bought my first ever Stone Island jacket in a store owned by a guy who from that day became and still is one of my friends. It was situated on the other side of the city and it`s like it was yesterday: my cellphone died, no connection but I after all I found the store and tried everything on. With a little doubt I chose one and went away finally satisfied. It was a black Raso Gommato with a beige hood and woolen lining. Man, it was really an awesome jacket!
So Nick, why is Stone Island so popular in Russia ?
I`m not sure why Stone Island became so popular in Russia. Movies on football hooligans may be the reason. I mean this casual culture which is mainly adidas, vintage and Stone Island. But it`s definitely not because of the love for materials and unique design.
But why do people actually wear Stone Island in Russia then?
Well, there are a lot of schoolboys that are wearing it. They want to be closer to the casual culture, want to be cool guys. I believe that 90% of them think that Osti is “that guy who’s always smiling and allegedly dead”. But still there’s a certain group of people who know everything about the brand and love it sincerely. Still most of them are from the “old school” and they used to wear Stone Island at the time when I haven’t even seen a woman’s breast yet.
Nick, when did you start to sell vintage pieces and where do you find all that stuff on the market?
There`s a long and a funny story of me becoming a reseller. It started when I only had 2000 rubles and I thought of the way of making more from it. I found a cheap C.P.Company bomber jacket (1500 rubles), I researched and figured out that it could be sold for more money. I ordered it from Moscow, from the guys that were selling vintage stuff through social media. When it arrived I was already following a big U.K. vintage shop on Instagram to whom I decided to offer it.
They agreed to pay me twice of the money I got it for. This was the moment when I understood what I was really into something. But there was a problem. The shop didn’t want to pay for the shipping for just one piece, it just wasn’t worth it. Then a true reseller woke up inside of me and I showed him some pieces that guys from Moscow were selling. I still remember those jackets: one was a really outstanding archive Stone Island jacket and the other one was blue Raso Gommato. The U.K. shop said yes and I asked the Moscow guys to sell them to him. Then I sent a bomber jacket back to them and they organized shipping to UK and I got my profit.
A bit later I started to keep in touch witht English shops more and I was sending a big pack of clothes to the U.K. each month. The exchange rate on pounds was unbelievable to Russia but very profitable to me. That's why it was possible to buy pieces for nothing and to get 100% or even 300% of income of each piece without trying too hard.
I guess you must be very well connected to other vintage shops and collector in Europe. So how did those guys find you?
Generally, I find them myself. As I said earlier, I worked a lot with shops from the U.K. and I'm very good at getting along with people. After my friend and I started selling clothes together people wrote us a lot. For instance, there’s a collector from London that always buys pieces in his size and trusts me a lot. I hope that one day him and I will meet and go to the Osti archive. I want to go there so bad!
Now the exchange rate have fallen and I have to try harder and make photos and stuff. On the other hand, I enjoy this more. Hope that soon I'll be able to compete with the leading European dealers (Follow my new Instagram account please).
So what's about Russian collectors and the local fanbase? Would you say that Russia has another understanding of the brand than the rest of Europe?
For sure it's different my friend. People in Russia don’t collect clothes on the rail like you do, licking every item of the collection. I'm talking about the majority of course. They just buy things cause it’s trendy. When they are bored with it they buy something more fashionable. Russians have a different mentality, different needs. Just for the last couple of years people here have been interested in fashion, but surely most of them don't have enough money to always be on point. That's why they tend to wear fakes. Classic look is fake Raf Simmons Ozweegos and and a fake Stone Island jacket.
You talked about the way people wear Stone Island in Russia and the connection to football and hooliganism. Did the perception of the brand also changed over the last years with all that hype, Drake and the new love of so many young people for it? Better said, if I´m gonna visit you next year do I need to take my badge off in the Saint Petersburg jungle?
Of course, I don’t like the fact that so many people wear Stone Island. You can't be unique wearing it. Regarding the patch I'm not really sure about this. It's not that complicated but there are jerks of course. If you're with me it's ok. Moreover, if we drink beer before it's possible that we take a patch from someone. Ahahahah
So after all these years in the business Nick, what are your favuorite Stone Island pieces so far and why ?
One of my favorite models of Stone Island is the Silver Jacket. I love a lot of stuff made by Osti. If I start naming them all I will have to make an article on them. I believe that the best piece is one that I haven’t come across on the Internet yet and that I haven't touched yet.
Nick, If Carlo Rivetti would visit you in Saint-Petersburg, what places would you show him and which people would you introduce him to?
Well, the first thing we would do is definitely drink together. Then we’d probably stroll around the city center to explore the architecture and people. After that we would go to the bar and have a great talk about garment dyeing. I would love to listen to his stories and share mine as well.
The next day we would go and look at some painting at any museum (he could choose one), then have a walk and drink. Every day this kind of cultural strolls. We could also go to a barbeque if he had time. So, if he's interested in coming I'll welcome him and present him to my mates.
Also what would you ask him and what would two big guys guys drink together?
I would be interested in the subject regarding my future. Maybe he could take me to Stone Island.
We could drink anything. I'm not that sophisticated. It's ok to start with classical vodka to make a conversation more open and interesting.
What are your plans for the future, where you want to go, where you want to work and when are you gonna visit Italy (and Berlin)?
I have a lot of plans, not a lot of money. I'd like to start studying clothing design in August. Then It'd be great to finally graduate from the fucking university. At the moment I'm really into clothing. I'd like to continue selling it and eventually producing it myself. Probably in autumn I could visit Berlin, but my dream is to go to Italy for some drugs (I mean Stone Island) for me and my clients.