Sunday, 20 May 2012

Kalashnikov manufacturer eyes branded clothing line

The legendary brand of automatic rifle, the Kalashnikov, might become a fashion symbol, as the arms manufacturer mulls extending its range of products to non-military goods. Factory Izhmash, which has been producing the famed weapon since 1948, has been in talks with the Kalashnikov family over the ownership of the brand, “The practice of using a weapon’s brand name for accessories and clothing is being used by world’s leading manufacturer Beretta … We are evaluating the prospects of this scenario for the Kalashnikov brand,” the company’s director general, Maxim Kuzyuk, was quoted in an official press-release. he Izhevsk-based factory has been having financial problems, an audit carried out by state-run corporation Rostekhnologii, the company’s main stake-holder, found in 2010. The modernisation of the 200-year old factory was launched shortly after, but the latest version of the Kalashnikov rifle, demonstrated earlier this year, drew criticism. The extended control over the brand is to allow the factory to put an end to levy-free use of the name by souvenir manufacturers all over the world. “If ownership rights for the brand belonged to Izhmash, we could develop it [the brand] more efficiently and secure guaranteed income for the family of Mikhail Alexeyevich Kalashnikov,” Kuzyuk said, according to the press-release. “The extended usage of the brand would be focused on high-tech produce, which comply with Kalashnikov’s values – reliability and failure-free operation,” Kuzyuk said. “Izhmash is against the fact the cheap souvenirs are being manufactured under this brand,” he added. Italian company Beretta could be a role-model for the new use of the brand. The world’s oldest weapons manufacturer also offers lifestyle goods, apparel and accessories for outdoor activities and hunting. Currently, Izhmash has the rights to use the name Kalashnikov only together with a graphical image of the automatic rifle and for naming their military produce, according to the press-service. The family of the 92-year old small arms designer was not available for comments.

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