Мишка comes to town, Retrofit Republic finds fashion in reuse
Five-panel ball caps printed with fresh fruit, outer galaxy scenes, or Harvey Comics panels. A cutely patterned cut-and-sew collection that includes button-downs speckled with astrological signs, classical sculptures interspersed with spray paint bursts, pot leaves and one-eyed skeleton heads arranged in Nordic ski sweater patterns. This is the look of Мишка (pronounced "Mishka," in case your Cyrillic skills are rusty), the Brooklyn brand that opens its first SF store this week.
Are we really becoming the outer borough to Silicon Valley's Manhattan? The fact that Мишка, a Greenpoint brand, is opening up its first store in the city next to a tattoo shop on 25th Street in the Mission is one sign that: yep, maybe. Or maybe it says more about how the Internet is globalizing hipster culture — the brand already has stores in Tokyo and Los Angeles.
Мишка is the kind of low brow movie-inspired streetwear brand (read: many hats and t-shirts) that inspires hordes of young enthusiasts so gung ho that the brand's national marketing coordinator Leigh Barton tells me, her bloodshot eyeball-adorned fingernails lightly gripping a cappuccino cup in a Haight Street coffee shop a few blocks from where she was hosting last week's warehouse sale, kids will show up to stores ready to work for free, just for good vibes and freebies to further their sartorial addiction.
The company already has a passionate Bay Area fan base, and co-founder Mikhail Bortnik tells me in an email the feeling is mutual. "The art, music, and culture that has been oozing out of the city for decades has influenced our brand and art greatly," he writes.
SF store manager Chris Brennan actually shot a lookbook last summer featuring the Bay's new crop of hip-hop heartthrobs: Chippy Nonstop, Antwon, and Trill Team 6 were among the models — which makes sense given that Мишка's a hybrid project — Bortnik and co-founder Greg Rivera also run Мишка Records, which recently released Cakes Da Killa's rad sophomore effort The Eulogy and had its hand in Das Racist's early mixtape glory as well. Keep an eye out to see how the company will be contributing to the ongoing rhythms and melodies here in the Bay.
Мишка SF opening party Fri/12, 7-9pm, free. Мишка, 3422 25th St., SF. www.mishkasf.com