The Russian maker of the seemingly ubiquitous AK-47 is ready to clothe Russian citizens. The Kalashnikov Concern, reports the BBC, is planning on opening at least 60 clothing stores across the Russian Federation by the end of 2016.
One of the chief reasons Kalashnikov Concern is branching out: sanctions cutting into the company's weapons sales in the EU and the United States. From the BBC:
Kalashnikov's marketing director, Vladimir Dmitriyev, says that before sanctions were imposed, up to 70% of its hunting and sporting weapons were sold in Europe and the US. Now, he says, they're focusing more on what domestic consumers want.
Marketing consultant Nikolai Grigoryev thinks the fashion line could work by tapping into the "rapid growth of patriotism in Russia related to the theme of war". But he tells pro-Kremlin Life TV that it would still only constitute a small fraction of the company's total turnover.
What remains to be seen is how helpful stepping into this new market might be for Kalashnikov's bottom line, which wasn't helped much by a 2014 effort to change consumer perception of its main products, in part by calling them weapons intended for "Protecting Peace."
We just hope that if Kalashnikov really leans into this change that it takes it all the way to the fashion show runway. Camo-clad models carrying AKs would certainly shake up the fashion world in an entertaining way.