Arresting looks: Russian protests get a fashion twist - GulfToday

Arresting looks: Russian protests get a fashion twist

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A model wears a creation by fashion designer Alina Muzychenko in Moscow.

In cropped jeans and a cream sweatshirt, Alina Muzychenko would easily blend into a central Moscow crowd. But her bright pink socks are quietly subversive -- patterned with a drawing of riot police holding hands.

The 34-year-old runs a design label with her husband Yegor Yeremeyev which is among a number of trendy brands making clothes that signal support for Russia's protest movement.

Sold online and in mainstream shops, the quirky designs have grown in popularity since demonstrations in Moscow in the summer for fair elections that sparked a police crackdown and saw thousands detained.

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Models wearing creations by fashion designer Alina Muzychenko hold a scarf in Moscow.

Donations to independent media

The first consignment of these T-shirts -- a batch of 50 to 100 -- went on sale in August and sold out in a few days, the couple says.

A website aimed at aspirational young Muscovites, Afisha.ru, included the T-shirt in a fashion feature headlined "Face of the protest: what to wear for a stroll round Moscow."

The couple, neither of whom has a fashion design background, has donated money from their clothing sales to the Mediazona website that reports on protesters' trials.

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The label the 34-year-old runs with her husband Yegor Yeremeyev is among a number of trendy brands.

'Parallel Russia'

The Kultrab founders see their edgy streetwear as a way of introducing Russian youth to the notion of participating in society and activism.

"Through clothes, we attract a new audience, to learn what activism is," says Muzychenko, a theatre director by training.

"Our aim is to spread an idea through clothes, through media," she adds.

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Fashion designer Alina Muzychenko (L) adjusts a garment on a model.

Their T-shirts are not limited to the summer protest movement.

Children in police van

The high-profile detentions of journalist Ivan Golunov and students at prestigious universities this summer led activists to hastily print T-shirts and stickers with the prisoners' faces.

The items were sold to raise money for their legal defence.

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Models cover themselves with the Russian national flag.

One of the most popular protest T-shirts comes from the brand Barking Store, which usually focuses on animal rights.

It shows a police van with barred windows marked "School Bus" and children inside, reflecting the young age of many detained at recent demonstrations.

Agence France-Presse