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Essentials: Mikhail Bortnik of Mishka

Essentials investigates the necessary personal belongings of Mishka‘s co-founder Mikhail Bortnik this week. What began in 2003 with a small T-shirt line has expanded into a full streetwear range including accessories, and this NYC label is certifiably one of the most recognizable brands globally right now.

To explain the brand name and bear motif: in Russian, Misha is a diminutive for the name Mikhail while Mishka is the diminutive for bear. Since Misha is very close to Mishka, bears are often called Misha in Russian fairy tales.

Mikhail was born in Ukraine in 1978 but had moved to Brooklyn at the age of one–where he still lives. Prior to founding Mishka, he did art and design work for Marvel Comics, advertising and children’s book publishing. As such, Mikhail was–and is–a graphic artist and continues to preside over the label as creative director.

Mikhail still finds inspiration in comics, horror movies, punk rock and metal, but we get a glimpse here of some other things that inspire the man–psych music, haze and Bavarian beer.

Photography: Hong Le/HYPEBEAST

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