In Russia, most flea markets and antique shops sell either Soviet-era paraphernalia or luxury furniture. In contrast, @out_____of scouts and sells rare, handmade items. Among its prized possessions are early 20th century stone and shell candle holders, similar to the ones found in Russian poet Alexander Blok’s home; austere, pre-revolutionary traditional woodwork found in rural homes, and, even more unusually, objects made by prisoners — whether that’s ornate steel and plexiglass hair combs, or custom sets of playing cards featuring prison tattoos as suits.
Set up in Moscow by designer and florist Elizaveta Kolesova in 2017, @out_____of evolved from Kolesova’s obsession with details and textures. She developed her passion from her father, who sold antiquities. Kolesova spent her childhood rummaging the stalls of the Russian capital city’s Vernissage flea market.
At first, Kolesova would search the @out_____of goods at the markets, hand picking, in her words, “austere, modest, rough” objects she could touch and feel. Despite her inclination towards traditional crafts, as well as Art Nouveau, it was the overall feel of the object, its authenticity and character, that mattered more to her than its attribution to a certain era or style. With time, Kolesova started scouting objects at online auctions, in order to expand the shop’s product range to items beyond Russia, from Germany to Japan.
One day, Kolesova hopes she can turn @out_____of into a museum celebrating rare handmade artefacts.