The Soviet Brand in South Africa – Camouflage Line

I am busy studying a brand which is now for years in South Africa. They have clothing stores all over the country and have a very strong brand.

I had a look at the website and find indications that it is militaristic, but I need to be careful, because I am not sure if they associate themselves with the Soviet Union, if you look at the military side of the Soviet Union you will find a lot of camouflage clothing, wings that the pilots use on their uniforms.

So what I did was, to start playing with the idea, of creating, or designing my own fabric and fashion line for this specific brand. Our main theme is camo, and I would like to use these ideas for a clothing company like Soviet. Here is a link to their website and have a look.

Panzergrenadier Hungary 1945 – pin by Paolo Marzioli

When I start to design I look first for elements that I can use for my study. I try to get so many ideas and information as I can to find what I think someone or me will like.
When you look at the army soldier drawing you see camo, and this image was of soldiers in 1949.
There are a few things that catch my eyes and the first one is the hat, with the piece of fabric around his ears, this is a bit too hot for South Africa. It can work if you use a not-to-warm fabric, but in areas like the Western Cape and Johannesburg, it can be very useful in the mornings when you are on your way to the gym or to work in winter.
The next thing that I am looking at is the collar, it looks if you can design a lot around with that specif kind of collar.
The bags around his chest is very interesting, and you can stitch fabric around on your shirt so that it looks like bags.

WWII Russian soldier
Published: Apr 27, 2010
by warman707
Cyrillic initial extended sans serif font with wings silhouettes. For military and sport logo, emblem and t-shirt design

Constructivist Art

One thing I learned at a very early beginning of my career is that if you touch politics and religion you immediately touch the art. These are three components that change in seconds and have a huge effect on a large scale on society.

I am studying now the Soviet Union war designs, I came across one word which is Constructivism art, a movement that started in 1922 by Aleksei Gan an artist. In his manifesto, he started with “UNCOMPROMISING WAR ON ART”.

During Russia’s post-Revolution transition, artists found their role in creating practical and industrial art to support the new Soviet state. In Constructivism, art was no longer for hedonistic pleasure but served a purpose within a fresh Communist society. Constructivist art began as a guiding light for the Russian people, carrying the hopes of many for a better life. 

For some, the goal behind this new method of artistic creation was a new modern way of expressing the dynamism of life in the modern, industrial world.

Constructivist art has a fondness for geometric forms, sparse composition, and industrial materials. Rulers and compasses could create simple forms, reflecting the decomposition of art and challenging established traditions. Constructivist artists used glass, wood, and metal in their constructions.

Soviet art propaganda poster. Strong diagonal construction is inspired by posters released in USSR during Lenin’s “New Economic Policy” – years 1921 – 1927. Each object can be used by an independent way. Airplanes are MIG fighter jets and weapons are AK-47’s. Also, we have some cruise missiles.

I am back at the SovietDenim brand in South Africa, if you look at the tornado’s backfire drawings, you will see that that specific element is been used by just flipped. Now I look at the time when this poster was being made and that was during 1922 -1927 in the time of constructivist art a movement which was designed by Aleksei Gan an artist. This poster you will see is been released in the USSR during Lenin’s “New Economic Policy”.

Rember this is all my own conclusions, I do not work for the company, I would like to design for them a clothing line with fabrics and clothes. The only contact I have with them is on Twitter.

As a South Africa designer, I ask myself, is this brand suitable for South Africa? We do not live in the USSR. The thing I wonder now is who created this brand. Was it a South African or a Russian, is the person or people who created the brand capitalists or communists. I mention in the blog that a good designer can understand his client in 5min. He needs to know exactly what the client wants. The next thing I said was, and that is also important is I worked 22 years for a boss and I gave him what he wants, that was my job. My job was not to study the clients that were his job. So what exactly is my job here? To design and to understand the trend. I also need to understand his idea and put it into a fashion design for his clothing line, and I need to have a deep insight into the brand of the business.

Below is the Sovietdenim Logo in South Africa.

My Conclusion,

What I did was my job, I have now clarity and can have enough confidence to walk in and go and see them. I now have an idea of where they come from. As a South African, I also understand their market. That is easy to understand that, by just visiting their website.

Please see below more designs of the constructivist art.

Teyashim (Four billy goats) (1922) by El Lissitzky; El Lissitzky, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Workers united through Factory Council by Seiwert (1922); Creator:Franz Seiwert, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Corner Counter-Relief by V. Tatlin, 1914; shakko, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Proun (c. 1922-1923) by El Lissitzky; El Lissitzky, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.