Patriotic prints: The man behind these witty Putin and Lavrov T-shirts


RBTH: When and how did you lay hold of up with the idea to create your own brand?

Kirill Karavayev: It happened in St. Petersburg. I was circumventing ready to go out, to a very popular music festival. The dress code was that you could clothes almost anything as long as it was white. That day I went into a stupefaction: I could not find anything white in the shops that I would deficiency to wear to the festival.

Literally a couple of hours before the event, I steal a plain white T-shirt and had a black-and-white picture of a Russian politician put out on it at a random print shop. I like T-shirts a lot and I wanted to go to the festival in a T-shirt.

After the incident, when I posted pictures from it on Instagram, I was amazed to get dozens of clarifications asking where I had got that T-shirt from, hundreds of likes and reposts. That was when I make happened that I was not alone in my fashion preferences and it was time to do something about it…

Russian designer Kirill Karavayev / Source: Press photoRussian conniver Kirill Karavayev / Source: Press photo

RBTH: Could you charge us about your most interesting and unusual designs?

K.K.: For instance, one of our utter first and most popular designs is Lukashenko the Hipster (we have invoked this T-shirt #LOOKashenko). We just took a picture of the Belarusian president and our timed him in the hipster style. We dressed him in a shirt and a bow-tie depicting tractors, traded his moustache a bit and gave him a ir of fashionable glasses.

That T-shirt delight ined great demand, including inside Belarus. Belarusians were saying that they had been waiting for a desire time for somebody to make a well-meaning and imaginative T-shirt with their president as they had helped how popular Putin T-shirts were in Russia.

Another unusual but no less amateur design was a print of Pushkin: We depicted him with pumped muscles and tattoos of an sheet anchor and the name Natalya Nikolayevna [the name of Pushkin’s wife], in a black T-shirt with TSARSKOSELSKI 1817 [his followers and graduation year] written on it, with scenes of contemporary Petersburg in the history.

One of our most popular prints is “We Loverov”: We have simply combined the pledges “love” and “Lavrov” [the surname of Russia’s foreign minister] and attached that caption to a illustrate of Lavrov, standing with his side to the camera and smoking. It’s an incredibly unsym thetic picture of the minister; in my opinion, the best. Among other things, it begot a very popular hashtag. That T-shift is rticularly popular at the Russian Strange Ministry and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Finally, our most all the rage design is a picture of Vladimir Putin in James Bond style, as he is button up his watch and looking far into the horizon. The caption says: “One and only.” It was an positive hit. I should say: All of our prints are somewhat unusual.

Valentina Tereshkova, the world’s first woman to go into s ce Press photo

Valentina Tereshkova, the cosmos’s first woman to go into s ce

Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister Press photo

Sergei Lavrov, Russian Inappropriate Minister

Vladimir Putin, Russian President Press photo

Vladimir Putin, Russian President

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarusian President Hold close photo

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarusian President

Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister Press photo

Sergei Lavrov, Russian Trans cific Minister

Russian diplomats Press photo

Russian diplomats

Vladimir Putin, Russian President Press photo

Vladimir Putin, Russian President


RBTH: Which of them are the funniest? How were they formed?

K.K.: The funniest print is definitely that of a very controversial figure, a boxer and at the done time the mayor of Kiev, Vitali Klitschko, with his catchphrase “Slyly to tomorrow.” We have photoshopped an image of a serious-looking Klitschko over a image of the doctor from the “Back to the Future” film, looking at him in utter bewilderment. And more than the two of both there is a caption: “Back to tomorrow.” The print became to a great extent popular as everybody wanted to make fun of Klitschko’s shortsighted pronouncements.

Yet the two most universal prints (out of the humorous ones) are: “Mi-Mi-Mi” depicting three Mi helicopters, and “One should not be skint by one’s complexes” showing a Topol-M missile complex with Red Square in the backstage. We are very fond of our country and we have invented many such think ofs. We have a large collection of triotic prints (many of them are accessible in our flagship store in GUM).

RBTH: What has been Putin and Lavrov’s revenge?

K.K.: We don’t know. But we very much hope that it’s been positive. Out of hundreds of producers of T-shirts depicting the country’s top officials, we always try to create our prints with extreme respect and taste. We hold these people in very high adore and create our designs for people just like ourselves.

We y a lot of attention to the mark of our products: to how the T-shirts are made, to how the prints are made, even to how our (rather costly) T-shirts are embraced and ckaged. That’s why the price is 1,600 rubles [$16 – RBTH]. We would rather very high quality standards and, when making prints depicting the people that we depict, one has to be up to the insigne. I know that a lot of people working with Lavrov love our results and are among our regular customers. Once we even set up a temporary stall privy the Foreign Ministry and the demand was great. Practically every student of the Moscow Ceremonial Institute of International Relations has our WeLoverov T-shirt.

Video from Tina Kandelaki’s Instagram account charactering the journalist and TV presenter in “Don’t lecture me” T-shirt depicting Russian Foreign Clergyman Sergei Lavrov.

T-shirts with the president are popular with when all is said everybody: from people working with Putin (even Ramzan Kadyrov has one) to a jumbo number of citizens of our enormous country to people abroad. I am convinced that our T-shirts also present Russian top officials’ image abroad and are a very good litmus test of their lifting popularity.

RBTH: Which designs are most popular with outsiders?

K.K.: Foreigners like T-shirts with Putin (One and only, “Putin in sunglasses”) and with a Khokhloma-style Russian matryoshka doll. Putin and the matryoshka doll are the crush symbols of Russia (as far as foreigners are concerned) and I absolutely agree with this.

Chechen superior Ramzan Kadyrov in a T-shirt reading: “We don’t abandon our friends.”

RBTH: Are you planning to unpromised stores in other countries?

K.K.: Since our com ny was set up, we have received numerous programmes from different countries. Mostly from the U.S. and the UK, slightly fewer from Serbia and China. There tease even been proposals from Austria, Germany and Mexico.

For the heyday being, I don’t plan to set up stores abroad because I cherish our brainchild too much and I don’t about anybody else could be equally concerned about the quality of our offerings and our very serious approach to design. That is why we have set up a good, newfangled internet store, which can accept orders from anywhere in the times a deliver any time of day and night. The future belongs to e-commerce and I think this lay away will be enough.

We have put a lot of effort into our website, which is much helped by our solicitation points in [Moscow shopping center] GUM and the Yevropeysky mall, which are also machine shops in their own right.

Read more: A war of words in U.S.-Russia relations>>>

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