(1885, Moscow–1953, Moscow)

Normal clothing research. Montage for the magazine New Life, 1924 (reproduction)
Russian State Archive of Literature and Arts, Moscow 

In parallel with the development of specialized clothing taking place within the LEF circle, the founder of constructivism, Vladimir Tatlin—then head of the Department of Material Culture at GINHUK, the State Institute for Artistic Culture—was investigating universal everyday wear. Convenient and non-constraining, this all-season “normal clothing” rejected the vagaries of both fashion and the market mechanisms that had been revived with the introduction of the New Economic Policy. For instance, a design for a coat included removable autumn and winter linings. In rationalizing the process of making clothes, Tatlin simplified the cut as much as possible and tested the prototypes’ comfort and durability himself. Unlike Thayaht’s patterns, the publication of “normal clothing” in the magazine Novy Byt (New Everyday Life) had only limited success as an instruction to spread democratic and functional design. But such publications did lay the foundation for Soviet DIY culture: the independent production, alteration, and adaptation of the many items that unavailable in shops. 

Ekaterina Lazareva