Q&A with SSUR’s Founder Russ Karablin plus Their LA-Centric Editorial

By Kimberly B. Johnson
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We recently sat down with Russ Karablin–founder of apparel brand SSUR and seasoned streetwear influencer. Russ spoke with us from the SSUR West Coast headquarters in West Hollywood, breaking down a few essentials we’d yet to know about the brand, and the man behind it.

To accompany Karablin’s words, SSUR brings forth a lookbook shot in DTLA at the 6th Street Bridge by Photographer Sequoia Ziff  with styling by Sami Miro, featuring a few beloved SSUR garments. Peep the teaser of their skull beanie and baseball cap, letterman’s jacket, Zodiac Pisces tee and denim button up after the jump.

LA CANVAS: You were working on Wall Street at 22 before you quit your job to pursue SSUR full-time. Can you tell us about who you were at that age and how that person became the Russ Karablin of today?

Russ Karablin: Ever since I can remember, art and being creative has been my first love. I was also always interested in fashion/personal style from an early age. At 15, I helped my cousin working with him in the city for a kid’s clothing brand doing cut outs and creating mood boards. That was the extent of my formal training. At 16, I worked at a retail location in the Kings Plaza Mall called Gianni — store logo was in the OG Versace font — that sold casual brand name clothing for the 25-35 age bracket. In ’88, at age 19, I worked at a Russian boutique in an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn as a buyer for two years. I curated and maintained the “exclusive department”, which was by appointment shopping and sold mostly young Italian designers and classics for a younger crowd with money. I was always creating art of some form whenever I could. After almost two years in the financial/stock circuit, I sold a few paintings in between cold calling and decided to go art full swing, kicking off my first“official” solo show in the Disco 2000 room with street kid Michael Alig.


LAC: In 2014, SSUR opened a retail shop in West Hollywood’s Little Russia neighborhood to join the New York, Shanghai and Odessa, Ukraine flagships. Can you pinpoint any aesthetic differences between the preferred products and popular styles at each branch?

RK: They don’t differ as much as you would think, but depending on who is wearing which pieces in which region sometimes will effect what will be more popular in that setting. Especially if it’s a pop culture icon to whom a majority of the world can relate; the items will become popular in any region.

Chinese audiences tend to gravitate towards “channel zero” and other parody products while LA audiences reach for LA themed merch and denim. NY goes for basics. But mostly for all, it’s what’s new and fresh.

Odessa, Ukraine is my favorite of the four. Slightly less differences in products purchased since the internet.


LAC: What are themes and life lessons you feel you’re being exposed to on a personal level during this era of your life? 

RK: How to raise my children is the main focus right now. Trying to stay focused and positive above anything else, which can be near impossible at times. PMA (positive mental attitude) all day. Justice and equality will bring about peace. Meat really is murder.


LAC: What work and creative obligations — that you’re able to touch on — are you looking forward to in the coming months? Completely aside from work and obligations, what personal plans do you have coming up that you’re looking forward to?

RK: We have a few exciting co-branding projects coming up. I am continually working on paintings and art related concepts regularly. I’m very inspired by sculpture and working on more right now. I’ve also always had a love for film; it’s hard to say what’s next. Aside from career obligations, time off work with my family.

Check out the lookbook below and visit SSUR’s Los Angeles flagship located at 7710 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, 90046.




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