I’ll admit it straight away – if I hadn’t been such a sucker for all things russian, I probably wouldn’t have liked these shirts half as much as I do. Besides a growing number of Russian band shirts, I also own this beautiful Crime and Punishment shirt from the Affair, that draws on the designs of Russian prison tattoos, a style that’s hard not to love.
The shirts from MIR – who call their clothes ‘Russian Criminal Tattoo Apparel’ – use the same style and I like a lot of it a lot (I’m so goddamn eloquent it scares me sometimes). Apart from the fact that so many of them are printed on light colored shirts, there isn’t a single one of the shirts below I wouldn’t be glad to wear.
About the Shtrafbat shirt (top image, center shirt), shtrafbat were Soviet penal battalions that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II (read all about them here).
The only thing that disappoints about this is the fact that these shirts aren’t Russian at all – they’re American. All I can hope is that they’re designed by some weirdo Russian expat and not by a Williamsburg hipster designer with a hard-on for Russia – like the one I have.