A clothing brand sells 'Faux News' and 'Tuckerless' T-shirts to raise money for Ukrainian charities.
Igor Novikov, the founder of Cancel Kouture, told Insider the shirts approach opinions with humor.
Novikov, a former Zelenskyy advisor, said the shirts have gone viral online.
A Ukrainian clothing brand called Cancel Kouture is selling T-shirts that poke fun at figures such as Tucker Carlson and Rudy Giuliani to help raise money for Ukrainians affected by the war.
The brand sells a "Tuckerless" shirt that calls out Tucker Carlson, a "Faux News" T-shirt poking fun at Fox News, a "Rudyculous" mug referencing Rudy Giuliani's infamous call pressuring Ukrainian government officials to meddle in then-Presidential candidate Joe Biden's campaign, and a new "Town Fall" T-shirt released just after CNN's controversial event with former President Donald Trump.
Cancel Kouture's founder Igor Novikov, who was an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told Insider that the brand's profits are going toward charities helping Ukrainians and people left houseless by Russia's invasion.
"At the moment, we're donating to resilience centers and the charities that are directly supporting people in need," he told Insider. The resilience centers were especially helpful for supporting civilians affected by blackouts, offering "heat, water, electricity, and internet to people free of charge," Novikov said. He added that he was previously paying for these services from his savings.
Some of Cancel Kouture's profits also go toward houseless people in major cities such as Kyiv, including a man named Dima, who Novikov has tweeted about.
The brand's owner said his first shirt idea was about Tucker Carlson
Novikov told Insider that Cancel Kouture started as a bit of a gag involving Carlson, when Carlson was still a Fox News host. One night, Novikov was doing a late-night television hit with MSNBC's "Deadline: White House" when he noticed something wrong with his older daughter.
"I was saying goodnight to her, and I noticed she was very uneasy, on the verge of tears," he said.
She told him she'd seen a clip from an American television show "destroying Ukraine, saying America supports Putin."
"And I realized that it must've been Fox News, and it must've been Tucker," Novikov said. Carlson had previously argued in favor of Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine and questioned the US "intervening" in the war.
The anger led Novikov, his wife, and his daughter, who now designs many of the store's products, to paint the words "Tuckerless" on a white T-shirt for Novikov to wear on "Deadline: White House" that night. The shirt went viral and appeared for sale in Etsy shops and online stores.
—Igor Novikov (@igornovikov) December 24, 2022
Novikov said "Tuckerless" is a call to action for the media to be "Tucker-less."
The phrase also has a cheeky meaning for Novikov — he had offered Carlson a place to stay should he want to visit and see the war in person. Because Carlson never took him up on the offer, Novikov is also "Tuckerless."
"I thought it was funny," Novikov said. "I just made a statement in a very interesting way, and I was really proud of myself that I found that right combination between cancel culture — the hatred of canceling somebody — and a bit of an anesthetic to cancel culture by making it actually funny."
After seeing knockoff "Tuckerless" shirts for sale online, Novikov figured he could start his own business.
—Igor Novikov (@igornovikov) May 17, 2023
Cancel Kouture donates profits to Ukrainian charities and civilians in need
Novikov said putting the brand's profits toward supporting others allows people to see the impact they're making.
As Cancel Kouture's business takes off, Novikov said, money not going towards operating costs and expenses will be funneled "into one or two bigger Ukrainian charities."
"And we're going to have certain T-shirts and certain slogans dedicated to a specific charity," Novikov added. That's already happening with the "Town Fall" shirt — any profits from its sales are going to the Ukrainian Children Action Project, which helps support and relocate displaced children from the war.
And Novikov said while Cancel Kouture gets its namesake from the phenomenon of "canceling" someone, it's also more lighthearted.
"I'm not a huge fan of cancel culture because, to me, it seems too aggressive and too indiscriminate," Novikov told Insider. "But at the same time, I fully understand that people should have means and tools to express their views on canceling other people."
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