Ukrainian-born designer, Natasha Zinko presented her Menswear Spring/Summer 2023 collection “Défilé” in a yellow-lit school gym. From oversized utilitarian boots with cargo pockets to an angel in white leather, this collection is inspired by the haphazard urgency of evacuation and the defiant hope of the Ukrainian people. Cherished garments of leather and traditional Ukrainian embroidery are reimagined to create a sense of security and the comfort that “everything is going to be alright.” Soft blue, white, and pink deconstructed bustiers, denim patchwork and nightgowns held together with safety pins declare “I am here and I will not be silenced.”

While the floral patterns and embroidery pay homage to her hometown of Odessa, the punk spirit of the collection is distinctively British. Black leather, acid-washed denim, and spiked shoes bring in the defiance she has been inspired by from the many refugees in London who now work in her workshop. Next steps for Zinko? She hopes to open a store in London that will also showcase Ukrainian designers. “The world is a smaller place and we should be kind to one another”.

This belief is not only evident in her hosting of interns and refugees, but also in her casting for the show. Gender- fluidity, size inclusivity, and models from all nations walked the court. “I don’t see size, color, or origin, I see people happy to be in the clothes.” She ended the show by joining the models in a stoic pose on the court. “I felt that, specifically for this collection” her most personal to date, “it was important that I be with the models as one.”


Photos by Sebastian Pielles @piellesshots