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Zelenskyy's 'kaitsetahe' sweatshirt gives Estonian brand sales boost

Volodymyr Zelenskyy address the Riigikogu wearing the
Volodymyr Zelenskyy address the Riigikogu wearing the "Kaitsetahe" sweater. Source: Siim Lõvi/Priit Mürk/ERR

An Estonian fashion brand has experienced a boost in sales after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wore one of its sweaters to address the Riiigkogu earlier this month.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) gifted Zelenskyy the green top with the word "kaitsetahe" written on the front during his visit on January 11.

The word means "will to defend" and the garment was one of 50 intended for officials at the Ministry of Defense and produced by Estonian brand Marat.

The company's CEO Raul Saks found out through the media.

"I first saw a nice article on some news portal about the President of Ukraine giving a speech in front of the Riiigkogu, and I think that within a few hours of that article appearing, we received a call from the Ministry of Defense saying they had received calls and people wanted to know where they could buy such a sweater," he told "Aktuaalne kaamera".

A decision to increase production was made in approximately 20 seconds and the products were selling online less than 24 hours later, Saks said. €10 from every sale is donated to charity.

Kaja Kallas gave Volodymyr Zelensky the 'Kaitsetahe' sweater during his visit to Estonia in January 2024. Source: Raul Mee

There has been interest in the sweatshirts in the run-up to Independence Day on Feburary 24.

"It shows someone's willingness to stand up for their country or defend their country, but it does not show political affiliation or sympathy for one politician or another. In that sense, it suits everyone," Saks said, adding that Russian speakers have also shown interest.

While Zelenskyy said the word could also be changed to "võidutahe", meaning "will to win", Marat has no plans to change its design.

"For a product to be successful, there has to be a story behind it. I don't think there's any point in developing it further at the moment. In the case of this particular product, it's not so much about the design or anything else in isolation, but about the symbolism and the result," Saks said.

Kallas said she gave Zelenskyy the gift as Ukraine's fight for freedom as been an inspiration to Estonians, leading to an increase in people signing up to the Defense League.

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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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