A clothing company of rapper Timur “Timati” Yunusov has partnered up with the Russian Defense Ministry to create a new clothing line.
Timati’s clothing company Black Star Wear and The Army of Russia chain store presented the new collection at a fashion show in Moscow on May 26. The show was held at the National Defense Management Center – the supreme command and control center of the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Russian Armed Forces.
The collection offers clothes for both men and women.
During the event, Timati made several high-sounding remarks about patriotism and claimed that the clothing line is designed to help those who previously struggled to express it.
Many Russian miltiary officials visited the show.
The event was widely covered by Russian media and even promoted by official Social Media accounts of the Russian Defense Ministry:
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Бренд @blackstarwear и сеть магазинов @armrusvoentorg накануне представили новую коллекцию одежды «Черная звезда». Презентация прошла в главном атриуме здания Минобороны России на Фрунзенской набережной Одежда из новой коллекции поступит в продажу уже в этом месяце. Несколько самых ярких снимков с показа от @alexey_ereshko и @t.kr_ в нашей подборке. • @blackstarwear label and @armrusvoentorg shop network presented a new clothing line 'Chernaya Zvezda' yesterday. The exclusive fashion show took place in the main atrium of the Russian Defence Ministry's building complex on Frunzenskaya emb. The clothes from the new collection will go on sale this very month. Meanwhile, let's watch some of the most striking pictures from yesterday evening's show by @alexey_ereshko and @t.kr_ in our selection. #миноборонырф #военторг #показ #одежда #нцуо #тимати #blackstar #blackstarwear #чернаязвезда #национальныйцентр #коллекцияодежды #армияроссии #armyrussia #russianmilitary #russianairforce #aerospaceforces #fashionshow #voentorg #clothingline #chernayazvezda #ndccc @timatiofficial
The new clothing line immediately appeared in the center of a media scandal:
1. The rapper himself has never served in the army because of his numerous tattoos. In 2009 interview with Moskovskij Komsomolets newspaper, he stated that he’d rather be labeled mentally unstable than serve in the army because it’s “a useless waste of time.”
2. During the May 26 fashion show, Timati claimed that his team and The Army of Russia chain store worked on the clothing line over a half year. However, Russian users found the ‘exclusive shorts’ designed for the military-backed clothing line on AliExpress (an online retail service based in China and owned by Alibaba). AliExpress’ price of this product is 833-961 RUB (about 15 USD).
It remains unclear if the shorts have been bought directly from some Chinese mass manufacturer or just copied. Nonetheless, the “shorts case” is not the first time when Timati’s companies have been found to be attempting to sell some cheap Chinese products as some ‘exclusively-developed’ things at high prices.
In March, Timati’s company started selling wireless headphones ‘Black Star’. The price – 7,000 RUB (about 108 USD).
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Больше года я искал идеальную формулу: качественный звук, шумоподавление, влагоустойчивость, беспроводное подключение, ресурс работы, крутой дизайн и ДОСТУПНАЯ ЦЕНА !!! Я нашёл эту формулу и с гордостью объявляю о запуске !!! Это не коллаб с известным брендом это собственный продукт !!! Проверьте сами, соотношение цена-качество вас удивит !!! @blackstar_clicknplay 🎧🔝
Multiple wireless headphones of the same design were found on AliExpress. The price – 1,500-2,000 RUB (around 24-30 USD). The only difference is that AliExpress variants have no “Black Star” logo.
In 2017, Timati’s Black Star company launched a digital marketing agency ‘Black Target’ (black-target.ru – the website is not working now). The design of its website was fully copied from Brazilian digital studio Super Duper (superduper.wtf). The ‘Black Target’ website even copied a photo of the head of art of the brazilian company.
3. Timati himself and his brand “Black Star” are controversial not only in the field of “business-related” projects. For a major part of his career, the rapper was mimicking image of Afro-American gangsters and rappers popular among this type audience. This can be seen in both his public image, music and music videos. The brand “Black Star” has the very similar roots.
In the first part of his “music career”, Timati became popular thanks to his positioning as a descendant from the Caucasus that contrasts himself with the rest of the population of the Russian Federation. This image allowed him to become a popular “musician” among a specific part of Caucasian ethnic groups living in the country.
Later, when the Russian state started strengthening, the gangsta rapper decided to make a re-branding. In about 2012, he started working to exploit the trendy patriotic agenda to increase personal wealth and to get access by one way or another to government funds.
Despite the rebranding, the newly forged “patriotic figure” continued leaving a trace of scandals.
In August 2017, Timati appeared in a center of scandal when his cortege blatantly violated driving regulations in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport.
In March 2018, a car from Timati’s security group appeared in the center of another scandal. The car caught fire after a traffic incident with a taxi in Moscow. After the incident, the taxi driver said that security guards linked to Timati tried to get 10 million rubles from him as a kind of “compensation”.
Unfortunately, the situation with the Black Star Wear and The Army of Russia was not the first time when the government or state-linked structures found themselves in a complicated situation because of activities of various self-proclaimed “patriots”.
In 2015, the All-Russia “Young Army” National Military Patriotic Social Movement Association was established under the patronage of the Defense Ministry. The goal of the movement is to support the values of patriotism and national service.
There were several scandals linked to the “Young Army”. For example, in July 2018, it was found that some organizations linked to the movement were selling uniform provided for its members via the Internet.
The abovementioned cases demonstrate how self-proclaimed patriots and representatives of the so-called “creative community” attempt to exploit the existing patriotic tendencies and state-linked project for self interest, often through shady schemes. Additionally, they tend to use the brands of popular state figures like President Vladimir Putin or Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in own controversial activities.
Actions of these “patriot-styled businessmen” cause a visible damage to the image of the state and important state-linked projects intended to promote patriotism and national service.
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