WHAT IS MIR
There was a time not too long ago when the images on these shirts stood for anti-authority, pride, honor and freedom. Freedom in a country where being a sheep was expected from all citizens. In a country where people were told how to live, what to say and what to think. The bodies that bore these images belonged to men and women who wouldn't bow down to the communist machine and decided to live life by their own laws. Be it good or bad, it was a choice they made and most stuck to it for their whole lives. They became wolves instead of sheep and recognized only the law of man (human law). They had their own code and their own courts.
The images in our designs are inspired by old Russian Criminal Tattoos that were about standing up to the powers that be and baring your teeth, about not selling your soul to the government. These tattoos were also a very diverse system of codes and information that can be read and deciphered by others in the know. We try to give u small glimpse into this old sub-culture with the descriptions of each design.
The stigma of these tattoos has faded over the last 2 decades and this art and it's images are slowly disappearing. MIR aims to keep the "Anti" alive for just a little longer.
DISCLAIMER: ALL THE TATTOOS THAT ARE USED ON THE SHIRTS ARE FROM 50'S AND 60'S AND DO NOT PROCLAIM U TO HAVE ANY ASSOCIATION WITH, RANK, OR STATUS IN ANY CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION OR CODE. SOME OF THE SHIRTS ARE HUMOROUS AND SOME ARE COMMEMORATIONS OF AN ERA THAT HAS GONE BY, BUT IS NOT FORGOTTEN.
SO DON'T WORRY, YOU'LL BE SAFE =)
WHO IS MIR
Russia, a country where every third man had done time or been through the camps at one time or another during the Soviet era. The "Bosses" and "God-Fathers" in the Kremlin knew the value of free labor. So it's not surprising that some of my own family had been through the Soviet prison system. Its also not surprising that when we went to the beach in Russia, prison tattoos were abundant. I remember looking at the tattoos as a young child, images of religious icons, cathedrals, devils, cats, etc. I was fascinated, I must been like 7 or 8. I didn't even know they were called criminal tattoos. That name didn't come to mind until the Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia came out. In Russian they were called simply, "Nakolki" a slang word for tattoos. That brings me to how "MIR" came about. After I first saw the books, I knew that t-shirts and apparel with the tattoos is not too far away. The images are just too powerful and rebellious. A few years passed and I was working in a tattoo shop and started noticing more and more people were coming in with the Encyclopaedias and asking to get an image from the books on themselves. We turned them away mostly, because the shop was owned by Russians and we didn't think it was a good idea to tattoo most of the stuff from the books on someone that knows close to nothing about that world and sub-culture. At that time I thought it would be cool if I could offer those people a t-shirt with the image as a sort of "consolation prize". Plus a part of me also wanted to spread this awesome Russian underground art to more people. A way for people to share their appreciation for this art with others. So I grabbed Val (my partner) and we put together the first 10 designs a few years ago and did a trial run and the rest is....well..the future of MIR remains to be seen.