Rags of Mass Disruption: What Volodymyr Zelenskyi Wears During the War
On February 24, right after the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi recorded the first wartime speech to Ukrainians. He was dressed in a khaki T-shirt. From then on, the President appeared in public solely in military clothes. In this outfit he referred to the United States Congress, Canadian and European parliaments, and spoke to the Israeli Knesset.
Western publishers give the same emphasis to the analysis of Zelenskyi’s outfit as to his speeches. Journalist of The New York Times Vanessa Freedman considers simple clothes to underscore the connection between the President and ordinary soldiers: he understands their problems and is ready to solve them.
Senior lecturer of History of Dress in Courtauld Institute of Art Rebecca Arnold, conversely, is sure that with the help of clothing Zelenskyi sends a more complex message. The President doesn’t wear the uniform of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, showing citizens that he doesn’t appropriate the glory of soldiers.
The audience likes Zelenskyi’s wardrobe so much that when a German economist Peter Schiff spoke on Twitter that he doesn’t share the admiration for the Ukrainian President’s T-shirt, he was utterly criticized.
Despite the meaning the head of state put in his image, it can be noted that it turned out to be successful. Let’s see with the help of which brands it was created and how much each element of the wardrobe costs (as for the President’s outfit it is cheap).
In the late ’60s after another ascent to one of the tops of Yosemite National Park, American climber Royal Robbins understood that he didn’t like the trousers he was wearing. He created other ones that were more “stiff” and “functional”. Legend has it that after this Robbins founded a company producing clothes that started manufacturing trousers under the brand 5.11. This name Royal took from rock climbing, where the marking 5.11 was given to the most difficult tracks. Nowadays, under the 5.11 clothes, shoes and tactical equipment are being produced. On the company’s website it is said that a part of the profit is donated to help people affected by war.
Volodymyr Zelenskyi was noticed in clothes of 5.11 several times. In particular, during the speach to Ukrainians, which was posted on March 3. Also the wardrobe of the President has:
T-shirt 5.11 Tactical Shield Ukraine
Price — 624 hryvnias (~21 dollars).
Tactical shirt 5.11 Tactical Stryke Long Sleeve Shirt
Price — 3 340 hryvnias (~113 dollars).
Tactical shirt 5.11 Taclite Pro Long Sleeve Shirt
Price — 1 800 hryvnias (~61 dollars).
The first factory of Lowa Sportschuhe appeared in Germany in 1923. The name of the brand consists of the first letters in the name of its founder Lorenz Wagner. The main goods are shoes for outdoor activities. Volodymyr Zelenskyi came in the Lowa sneakers to the meeting with journalists on March 10.
Sneakers Lowa Innox PRO GTX Lo TF Coyote
Price — 4 800 hryvnias (~162 dollars).
М-Тac (Military Tactical)
Ukrainian brand that was founded 8 years ago by Olexandr Karasyov, one of the co-owners of the store of tactical equipment “Militarist”. Besides clothes, the company makes shoes and tactical equipment: webbed gear, utility pouches, cases for weapons.
Apparently, during the first wartime speech to Ukrainians on February 24 Volodymyr Zelenskyi was dressed in a T-shirt of this brand. Such a conclusion can be made by checking the cut of the product.
The 281.z co-founder told Bird in Flight that she recognised the T-shirt by “specific shoulder seams, high neckline and color.”
281.z is a Ukrainian brand of tactical clothes, which was created by soldiers and volunteers 4 years ago. The name references the directive of the Ministry of Defence № 281/z about “establishment of a working group of development of material security of Armed Forces of Ukraine.”
Men’s T-shirt 281.z Punisher
Price— 440 hryvnias (~15 dollars).
American brand of sports clothes and shoes for the city. It was named in honor of the tributary Saucony Creek in Pennsylvania. The brand has a vegan shoes range. Volodymyr Zelenskyi wore those sneakers on March 26 when he was awarding soldiers of the National Guard. A model that the President put on is one of the brand’s bestsellers.
Sneakers Saucony Jazz 81
Price — 1 540 hryvnias (~52 dollars).