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Why is Adidas so Popular Among Russians?

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Russian criminal subculture, known as Gopniki (Gopniks or Gopniki in Russian, plural of Gopnik), has own fashion preferences which often include Adidas tracksuits and dress shoes.

The obsession with Adidas originates with 1980 Moscow Olympics. Sportswear for the Soviet team was manufactured by the German company Adidas. However, the USSR Communist party leaders forbid to put the labels of the capitalist company on tracksuits of Soviet athletes. Traditional three stripes were limited to one red. The dress shoes preserved its stripes, since the stripes resembled the letter “M”, stressing that the Olympics were taking place in Moscow.Although the company name did not appear on clothing, sneakers and tracksuits Adidas become wildly popular in USSR. Since then, it became THE sports wear label.

Women's national team of the USSR at the 1980 Olympic games in Moscow Image by Gazeta.ru
Women’s national team of the USSR at the 1980 Olympic games in Moscow Image by Gazeta.ru

Adidas sneakers were all the rage during the Olympics-80. Some wanted to get them, others hated. One popular saying of that time was “Тот, кто носит “Адидас”, завтра Родину продаст” (The one who wears Adidas will sell the Motherland tomorrow).

adidas-sneakers

During the Soviet times Russians had very limited exposure to Western fashion. Everything foreign became cool so everything Soviet was uncool. Then suddenly in 90s cheap counterfeit clothing, mostly from China, Turkey and Caucasus filled the market. People were generally poor and had little idea about Western fashion norms, so they went for cheap, comfortable and practical clothes, which often meant track suits.

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Track suits were and still are commonly worn by prisoners because they are comfortable, there are/were no prison uniforms available, different clothes weren’t allowed. Gopniks, being gangster wannabees, took it from there.

During 90ties, the mafia recruited wrestlers and lifters who had finished their sports career, to be enforcers and muscle. These people had access to “western” clothes from their trips abroad, so they walked around in them to show off. Sports clothes came represent authority and power.

In modern Russia, the Adidas brand is famous because of the street guys (gopniks). Simply because, Adidas tracksuits are often faked and sold cheaply so they are affordable for the lower class society.

adidas

– via reddit.

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  1. WeirdGirl, we only wear the fake ones, don´t have that much money. Por qué carajos te contesto en inglés?? Además es más Nike que otra cosa…

    • Translates to “chotko” lots of use of the hashtag on Twitter and in a few blogs, but I can’t find a meaning either. In context, it appears to refer to something being either cool, or fashionable, or luxury, but can’t say for sure.

    • It means precise or clear but it’s a slang and is used like you use “on-point” in the west. Kinda like when you play a note perfectly on a guitar – it’s perfect, there is no muddiness, buzzing and thus it rings so loud and clear that it’s almost showing off.

  2. From the series “She sat at the open window – it has not all there.(russian phraseologism means “she is crazy”)” I also like – not gaudily,garishly and stylish, but Nike in that period of time had not yet delivered.

  3. Basically the Russian version of Chavs, except Chavs have probably been around longer. Skinheads were kind of proto-Chavs back in the late 60’s-early 70’s, then the football casuals pretty much were the first Chavs in the late 70’s. Saying that, there was the Scuttlers and Peaky Blinders back in the late 1800’s, which probably had similar attitudes to Chavs.

  4. I have 2 adidas cccp tracktop, which the color is red and blue.. Red with embroided cccp in front,and blue with adidas logo on left side, and 80cccp on right side..
    Can u tell me, hows the story that made adidas release this type of tracktop? And why the logo places in front?
    So glad if u wanna answer my quest even by email :p

  5. просто позорят россию идиоты …
    Now, people are generalizing the behavior of these groups around the world as the official culture of Russians while it is an aberration. Estonians, Ukrainians etc … do the same now it’s just ridiculous.

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