At last, Meduza merch is here We’ve partnered with a bunch of talented manufacturers in Russia to bring you a new way to support our independent journalism while upgrading your wardrobes
Welcome to the Meduza Store!
We created Meduza’s new merchandise store, “Magaz” (short for magazin, which means “store” in Russian), together with several talented Russian entrepreneurs and brands. You can browse Magaz right now right here (in Russian).
Please note that Meduza itself isn’t manufacturing or selling the items listed at Magaz, though much of what you’ll find bears our logo. Instead, we are helping these companies with ideas, design, and promotion. For this collaboration, our partners will share some of the proceeds with Meduza, meaning that shopping at Magaz is one way to support our work as journalists.
Or you can cut out the middleman and give us money directly!
More about these partnerships
Three months ago, not long after the Russian authorities designated Meduza a you-know-what agent, we appealed to Russian brands, entrepreneurs, and really just anybody interested in working together on some merch. And we got dozens of letters in response. Thank you, everyone!
A special working group made up of staff from different desks within Meduza read through all these messages and selected the ideas that we think are best suited to Magaz. That’s how we connected with Handwers (to make wallets) and Freedom Aroma (for fragrances to use around the house). We also drew up a list of the companies with which we ourselves hoped to collaborate, like safer.zone (products for safety and practical living), Partisan Press (a street art project that produces old-school wood-printed posters), and Oh My (a manufacturer of quality essential clothes).
First things first, we like these brands because they manufacture stuff that we want for ourselves. Their products are just cool. We’ve carefully studied these companies’ histories, spoken to their founders, managers, and staff, and tried to understand if they share our values and understand why the institution of the free press is needed in Russia. And our partners have studied us; it’s been a mutual process.
It’s also important to us that our partners are dedicated to environmentally responsible manufacturing practices. (To understand why, take a gander at some of the latest climate crisis research.)
Simply put, we have confidence in the brands that we’re recommending to you.
Who inspires us
Of course, our editors were deeply moved by the Avgvst Jewelry company in Yekaterinburg when it released pendants reading “foreign agent” (in support of Meduza and the anti-domestic-violence foundation Nasiliyu.net, which has also been designated as a “foreign agent” in Russia).
Avgvst Jewelry founder Natalia Bryantseva has called on other business owners in Russia to release merchandise in support of “foreign agents.” “If there are more items displaying this word, then maybe the negative context will recede and the ‘shameful’ status will erode,” says Bryantseva.
Before long, another jewelry company called Aloha Gaia joined this campaign (once again, without any instructions or involvement from Meduza), releasing “foreign agent” earrings modeled on its “Twin Peaks” inspired collection. All profits from these sales go to Meduza.
Finally, the urban accessory store Friend Function released a beautiful canvas bag that immediately sold out online. Twenty percent of each sale goes to Meduza. The bag is appropriately called “Agent.” We didn’t find out about these wonderful bags until they were already trending on Facebook. Now Friend Function is one of our dearest partners at Magaz.
What’s the point of Magaz?
Magaz is an excellent way to support the Meduza newsroom, but it’s not just about the money we receive from our partners. (Though the money is important, too!)
Especially inside Russia but also all over the globe, Meduza’s merch helps remind us and our readers that we are not alone. The clothes we wear and the items we carry with us are themselves a statement about our values and a means of communicating those principles to the rest of the world. This swag is a gesture in support of the free press, common sense, and honesty.
A bit of useless sentimentalism: A brief history of Meduza’s merch
As a matter of fact, we’ve dreamed of launching our own merchandise since the day we started Meduza (many of our readers have been asking for it since the beginning, too)! At one point, we even designed a separate store website and ordered our first products: stickers featuring doodles that appeared in previously published content. The stickers were manufactured in the United States and took forever to reach Latvia. It wasn’t until later when we finally got a clue and realized that there was a lot more we’d need to do to launch a store properly: customs clearance, deliveries, returns, and a dozen other things that required resources we didn’t have. In the end, we doled out the stickers to staff and buried what would have been our first store. Our next approach to merch was a book called “How to Live,” which we thought of less as a book than an object — a piece of Meduza you could carry around with you in the physical world. The first edition sold out almost overnight and that was the end of our time in book publishing. For our sixth anniversary in 2020, we ordered a supply of (nearly) perfect black hoodies that (yet again) ended up as holiday stocking stuffers for the newsroom.
Meduza was still stuck in this rut when Russia’s Justice Ministry designated us as a “foreign agent.” If there’s been one positive effect here, it’s the partnerships we’ve formed in solidarity against this discriminatory status.
What can you buy at Magaz right now?
We’ve decided to release our merchandise in different collections. Products from various brands belong to the same collections, though some items are still unavailable (we’re as eager to see them as you are). That said, here are the collections available for purchase right now at Magaz:
- Black hoodies featuring Meduza’s logo in Latin and Cyrillic print
- White t-shirts featuring Meduza’s logo in Latin and Cyrillic print
- Sliding webcam covers (for the cautious readers out there!)
- Backpacks featuring Meduza’s emblem
- Silver tags that read “foreign agent”
- Pendants made from recycled plastic
- Keychains made from recycled plastic
- Volumetric stickers featuring Meduza’s own “We can do it!” illustration
- Candles with three different scents of the Baltics
- Black and white posters
“Foreign Agent Kit”
- Avgvst Jewelry’s famous “foreign agent” pendants
- Black and white canvas bags featuring Russia’s “foreign agent” legal warning
- Black and white t-shirts featuring Russia’s “foreign agent” legal warning
- Safety-vest t-shirts labeled “foreign agent” and bearing Meduza’s logo
If something goes wrong
As you already know, Meduza itself doesn’t manufacture or sell any of these goods. For information about delivery, exchanges, and returns, please consult our partners’ websites. If you still run into problems and believe that Meduza could help, we will of course do everything in our power to assist.
Please feel free to share any questions, any ideas for new merch (if you’re a manufacturer or designer), or your own photos of Meduza’s merch, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even inside Russia, buying Meduza’s merch is perfectly safe. We think you’ll find that it’s also a joy to wear this stuff, too!