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Maidan Clothing Clothes Patriots

Sep 26, 2014 | Newpathway

You may have seen their shirts worn around at the many Ukrainian events – they’re hard to miss. There’s one with a big ‘tryzub' on it and another that states ‘I Support Ukraine’s Army'. Maidan Clothing was established only a couple of months ago but one of its creators, Zakhar Lopatnyuk, admits they have already raised $40,000 of aid to Ukraine’s army.
Lopatnyuk and his brother, Bohdan, took inspiration from Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution and the subsequent Russo-Ukrainian war. He was “very impressed by the Donbas Battalion – impressed on how many patriotic people came out of eastern Ukraine (and God rest those who passed away recently).”
They believed that it was their “duty to do something…We decided that we should try this project and we invested our own cash and said: ‘let’s see if this works'. So far, things have gone well.”
There are about four people who are the core of Maidan Clothing (Zakhar, Bohdan, Nikolay Sidorenko and Olha Lakhotska) but there are as many as twenty who help create and sell the clothing too. The Non-For Profit Company buys their shirts at discount prices from Entripy in Oakville and all the profits they receive go to Ukraine.
During the first few weeks of operations, they sent $1,500 to the Donbas Battalion. However, they soon realized that “there’s a wide variety of things they need over there and money can get lost easily so [they] bought everything from night and infrared vision goggles, boots, clothes, tourniquets, helmets and now thermal underwear here and sent it over to them. Or if it’s cheaper to buy things there, [they] can get someone to purchase it there and send it to the soldiers.”
Lopatnyuk also works with organizations here in Canada to gather as much information as possible in order to determine what is needed in Ukraine. And while they are an independent entity, they do work closely with organizations like Euromaidan Canada to exchange information. For example, Maidan Clothing did sell their clothing at the Euromaidan Canada's exhibit at the Ukrainian Toronto Bloor West Festival (at the mini-Maidan exhibit resembling a Maidan tent).
Lopatnyuk freely admits that Maidan Clothing does things like getting in contact with various manufacturers to get products as cheaply as possible so more can be shipped to Ukraine. He also includes that Maidan Clothing “has evidence of where every single penny goes to, the receipts for everything that is bought so people know and can trust us.”
Maidan Clothing is beginning to expand their product line and will be coming out with long-sleeve shirts and sweaters along with cellphone cases for iphones. Their designer creates them in bamboo and they will be selling various designs for $25. Some of the designs include a map of Ukraine with all the rivers etched into it that says “Ukraine Can’t Be Broken” and another design that has “Slava Ukraini” on it with a portrait of Taras Shevchenko and the Maidan. However, Lopatnyuk says to first check their facebook (maidanclothing) page since the website is being redesigned.
Maidan Clothing also ships across Canada and internationally. They have sent their shirts to “New Zealand, Poland, France, Switzerland because people requested it.” At this moment, they are beginning to fundraise for more humanitarian aid that “will be geared for wounded soldiers.”
They began this initiative after a 19-year old soldier, who they knew through personal contacts, was injured with a bullet to his head. Unfortunately, during the operation, the shrapnel could not be removed and he cannot speak or hear. Lopatnyuk continues: “so we want to kick-start this campaign – and since in any good fundraiser you have to give yourself – we sent $1,000 for his operation. And right now we’re just waiting for what exactly the battalions need so if anyone would like to help out, please visit the website at”

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