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Varvara Stepanova

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Varvara Stepanova was a 20th century Russian artist, who was associated with the Constructivist branch of Russian avant-garde art, along with her husband, artist Alexander Rodchenko. 

The aforementioned branch was revolutionary in its rejection of aesthetic values in favor of revolutionary ones. Soviet propaganda was the apex of her designs, and she manifested its messages through textiles, poetry, and stage scenery. In the beginning of the 1920s, Stepanova moved almost exclusively into the field of production, where she felt that her design could achieve the greatest impact in aiding Soviet society and delivering the Soviet messages thoroughly.

Those Russian constructivist clothing that Stepanova invented annihilated the oppressive, elite aesthetics that represented them in the past, and instead shifted the focus on its utility and function. Instead of creating concrete, binary gender and class distinctions, Stepanova focused on functional, and geometrical clothes. Her goal was to free the bodies and the minds of those wearing her clothes, putting functionality as the fulcrum of her work, instead of the decorative aspect of clothing. As opposed to the aristocratic pieces of clothing that existed in the Soviet Union prior to her work, her clothes did not sacrifice physical freedom, but rather, were designed for the idiosyncrasies of certain jobs and settings, to check their movement and functionality. In addition, she was revolutionary in her strategy to develop expedient means of clothing production that would be both economical for the planet and functional for the wearer.

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