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Finding Success in Divine Designs

Local tailor Nikita Borisov has earned himself a name dressing the holy men of the Orthodox church.

Published: August 27, 2014 (Issue # 1826)



  • For over 40 years, Borisov has been working as a tailor with his custom-made garments in demand across the world.
    Photo: Lana Matafonov / for SPT

  • Borisovs colorful Greek-style vestments, worn by Orthodox priests.
    Photo: for SPT


  • Photo: for SPT

You know, there is a story about [Leonid] Brezhnev and jeans, says local St. Petersburg tailor Nikita Borisov. As you know, jeans are very strongstiff, you need to wash them before you wear them. Well apparently, he wore them new once and they gave him problems down there [gestures to groin] and so he banned jeans in the Soviet Union, Borisov says laughing. No jeans for anyone! So we started making our own jeans and selling them with fake labels. It was illegal of course, but it was better money. In fact, once, we were inspected by the police and after they examined our jeans, they declared them to be the real thing, thats how good we made them.

For over 40 years, Borisov has been working as a tailor in both the U.S. and St. Petersburg and in that time has developed a large clientele both locally and abroad. In 1991, he began specializing in custom-made garments for the Orthodox religion, with his handiwork earning him a reputation worldwide and he now receives orders from as far as Australia, as remote as Nigeria and even requests for film costume creations. Such is the high demand for his work that the talented tailor has had to seek more space and recently moved his workshop from the cramped, tiny basement of an apartment building on Ulitsa Rubensteina to a larger and holier area a room next to the majestic baroque-style Nikolsky Cathedral, one of St. Petersburgs most beautiful churches. This is very special for me as this was the church I got baptized as Orthodox when I was 22, says Borisov.

However, despite being baptized in Russia, it was not until the tailor was living and working in the U.S. that he began creating Orthodox garments. While working at a tailor shop in Sea Cliff, New York, a member from the Lomonosov family approached him about making a cassock, a full-length garment worn by members of the church. Within a week of arriving in the U.S., I was working for an Italian man, making custom-made suits and alterations. I said that I have never made a cassock before but if you show me one, I can replicate it. So he gave me one, I opened it all up and copied it, he said. I did a good job, word spread and after one year I was able to open my own tailor shop in New York, specializing in Orthodox and religious garments.

Being self-taught is nothing unusual for Borisov it was this exact curiosity and determination that got him interested in the profession in the first place. I started making alterations when I was 12 or 13 years old because there wasnt anything good in the Soviet Union back then. My mother would order me pants and they were always too big, so I would take them in myself. Pants, shirts, shortsI would open up old clothes, see how they were sewn and then make the alterations on my own clothes, he said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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