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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. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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