" Mishka (Мишка) NYC "In Russian, Mishka [pronounced: mee-shka] means "bear cub". Bear cubs in general are intelligent, independent and gentle, but anger one and it'll tear your face off!
Mikhail Bortnik and Gregory Rivera established the Mishka clothing brand in 2003 and gave the word a new meaning by creating what is one of the most coveted underground street wear labels in the world today. Mikhail started drawing what would become the Bear Mop logo around 2000, after graduating from college. As life slowly passed him by and he became disenfranchised by what life had in store for him and working a 9-5, he began playing around with some ideas for a t-shirt line when the whole idea of calling it Mishka came about. Mishka is a derivative of his name, Mikhail, or Misha. Spelling it in Cyrillic for aesthetics and menacing appeal.
Greg got started when he joined up with Mikhail when he moved to NYC in 2002 (from central Florida) and became and instant fan of what was going on in NYC at the time. He says “Moving to NYC was almost like a new chapter in my life. Learning about brands/stores like SSUR, aNYthing, Alife, Supreme, Union, it really opened my eyes to a new art form and the idea of Streetwear” Based out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Mishka Clothing is a street wear brand that references any and all things the creators have been inspired by: The underground punk/ hardcore/post-hardcore & skate scene's of the 80's, heavy metal & indie rock, horror, comics, B-movies and pop culture in general. In addition, Mishka NYC embraces emerging artists and works closely with them on unique graphic concepts. In the end just as was in the beginning, anything goes with Mishka". With the success of Mishka's graphic T-shirts, the brand was able to expand its line to a full collection ranging from denim, outerwear, knits, sweatshirts and accessories that are available worldwide at only the finest of shops. The Mishka clothing collection is diverse, pieces range from men’s tees (Summer 09, Hallelujah Spring, Actual Pain Summer 09, and Online Exclusive collections), Caps (New Era Fitteds and Snapbacks), Shirts, tops, Hoodies, Knits, Jackets, Outerwear, Denim, Pants, shorts, accessories, toys, music skins .
Staying true to its roots, Mishka NYC is obviously inspired by everything New York – most notably the famous “Trouble and Bass” musicians. Music has a huge influence on their message and design. Mikhail has one of the largest collections of music and an amazing catalogue of symbols and references stored in his head. “There’s almost always some hidden musical reference in everything we do, sometimes it’s overt, sometimes it’s really buried, but it’s there and it’s always awesome to get emails from people who catch it.” They are very music-centric with almost always some hidden musical reference in everything they do, sometimes it’s overt, sometimes it’s really buried, but it’s there . Its exceptional “tongue-in-cheek” aesthetics, bold colours and logo are just some of the many things that appeal to fans. Mishka clothing has some great illustration-intensive t-shirt collabs, with Lamour Supreme, Jermaine Davis, AKA DUM (Nagel Ranger’ t-shirt), Sara Martin and James Callahan., Photographer (of naked women) Richard Kern and Takuya Sakamoto. In the spirit of fashionable camaraderie, Mishka clothing has also collaborated with a number of streetwear giants, including New Era Fitted Caps, Swagger, Secret Base, K2 Snowboarding, Evil Design, and Jk5.
We love Mishka clothes because they are always fresh and on the money in regards to styles and colours and so incredibly diverse, we have personal favourites such as the Seafoam plaid shirts, the bobble hats and more recently for this season the Heatseeker sweater, High Impact T shirt and the Script New Era in grey wool. True to the Mishka ethos Greg feels that “People dress the way they do to express themselves. I don’t care if their identity is because of their favourite rapper or because they want their t-shirt and shoes to match. As long as it’s their own, I’m all about it.”
Fast forward to 2010 and Mishka now have 3 stores worldwide and the Mishka flagship store is in Brooklyn, New York City (2009), the interior is adorned with kitschy and off-base items from banners to masks and toys. Mishka recently wrapped up the Fall 2010 look book for its D.A.R.T. Collection, which features appearances by sponsored riders John Prolly (D.A.R.T. Manager), Wilis, Shea, Tone and Jeremiah. The imagery itself captures the fellas in action as they ride around New York City, with photography from Takuya Sakamoto. No doubt these guys are on a mission; let’s see what 2011 brings. The fact that they do what they want and what they are into combined with a genuine and active passion for their industry is a key factor in their success which has helped them gain fans all across the globe.