Ukraine Actor Oleg Zagorodnii Supports Military Through Fashion Brand that Helps Supply Uniforms

Courtesy of Oleg Zagorodnii
Ukrainian soldiers hold packages of uniforms and other military clothing items delivered by Oleg Zagorodnii in eastern Ukraine in April 2023.

Oleg Zagorodnii has lost three fellow Ukrainian actors in the war with Russia, and knows he himself could be called into service at any time. In the meantime, he has been helping the war effort with a project that provides uniforms and other clothing for the military.

The 36-year-old Zagorodnii, who came to Japan last week to promote his latest film, told The Yomiuri Shimbun in an interview in Tokyo of how he came to be helping outfit the Ukrainian military in its battle with the Russian invaders.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Oleg Zagorodnii

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Zagorodnii launched a fashion brand in May that year called Brave+1, and uses profits and donations to produce military fatigues for Ukrainian soldiers. Last year, a total of about 10,000 uniforms were donated.

The brand sells military-style jackets, shirts, bags, accessories and other items. On the English-language online shop, clicking on a product produces a message that tells the buyer how it will directly help the Ukrainian army, such as, “Buy this item, and we’ll create and deliver four items for the army.”

From Brave+1 website
A Brave+1 brand jacket

Zagorodnii decided to launch the project after hearing from a friend in the military about a lack of uniforms and other items. Collaborating with a friend who lost an apparel manufacturing job in the wake of the aggression, he first started manufacturing uniforms using his own money. The brand was born out of the process, and he has had over 20 people at one point helping produce the brand products and military uniforms in Kyiv.

Zagorodnii delivered a shipment of uniforms to soldiers near the eastern front last spring. There he saw corpses and destroyed vehicles scattered all over the place. “There was the smell of death,” Zagorodnii said.

With the Russian aggression about to enter its third year on Feb. 24, Zagorodnii said that juggling the project with his acting job is not easy, but he remains determined to continue doing what he can to support his homeland. “I can’t stop while the war is still going on,” he said.

The film that Zagorodnii is promoting is titled “Firebird” and tells the story of the hidden love between two soldiers, based on the memoir of an actor in Estonia during the 1970s when the country was still part of the Soviet Union. The film opened in theaters across Japan on Feb. 9.