Fashion is often regarded as a celebration of the new, of innovation and of culture. Hefty dependence on European buyers and exporting could help new Ukrainian brands and established mainstream apparel manufacturers mitigate the financial fallout from prolonged political instability. As Russia ordered troops to separatist regions in Ukraine last February and dropped hints of a wider incursion into the country, the Ukrainian economy is feeling the negative impacts of the encroachment — including on the nation’s nascent fashion and cultural heritage sectors.

Why is Ukraine so crucial for the fashion industry?

Just a few years ago, the glimpses of an astonishing recovery of the Ukrainian fashion industry were already in sight. The enormous efforts that companies have had to make to survive in the industry have produced results. National firms have reinvented themselves and adapted to the new times with admirable mastery. Until a few weeks ago, Ukrainian fashion exports were coming out of that hole and the country’s small fashion workshops were consolidating as firms in continuous ascent. We were experiencing the Ukrainian entrepreneurship boom.

The crisis unleashed a great deal of creative potential. An example of this paradigm shift is Lake Studio. In 2015, the company created a collection that paid tribute to Ukrainian society. Accessories that simulated gas masks or coats that appeared to have been run over by a car were some of the items that marked a radical change not only in style, but also in attitude to the new era in which the country was immersed. The ornamentation and the ostentatious luxury as tendencies were extinguished to give place to an aesthetics that represented the sociopolitical transformation of the moment. Fashion as a reflection of a critical moment. But recovery was not as quick or as simple as it seems.

But now, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the future does not seem to be as positive for Ukraine, where the war disrupted transport and logistics centers. Already in the past, some brands prioritized their principles over business. Some examples are the designers Svitlana Bevza or Artem Klimchuk, who stopped selling in Russia in a categorical way already a few years ago. Despite the significant improvement, still more than 87% of firms are considered “small businesses”.

Right now, lack of financial support can be a key obstacle to the growth of Ukrainian companies. In general terms, designers are understanding the importance of international sales and are developing their strategy in line with it. Firms such as Litkovskaya, Bevza and Anna October have moved their fashion shows to Paris and New York in recent years for maximum exposure, acting as international ambassadors for “Made in Ukraine” – a phrase that was avoided at all costs by Ukrainian brands and has now become a selling claim.

Ksenia Schnaider embodies this new business approach: the designer changed her entire commercial strategy when one of her denim garments became completely viral in 2016. Ienki Ienki is one of the best examples of an amazing globalization. Celebrities such as Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski or Kourtney Kardashian have worn the brand’s quilted jackets. Ienki Ienki developed a unique identity and style, and grew 200 percent in just one season. Its founder, Dmitriy Ievenko, says it’s about creating a recognizable personality and finding your own niche in the global marketplace. The truth is that Ukraine continues to fight tooth and nail to enhance its fashion industry as it deserves. In 2014, the Ukrainian Fashion Week (the most important runway in Eastern Europe) took place as normally as possible, but as well last February 2022. In 2014, Ukrainian designers left Independence Square to continue their work on the catwalk. No revolution or critical situation managed to suspend this event.

In 2017, Anton Belinskiy brought together Kyiv’s biggest fashion icons during the PFW to showcase his country’s current creative explosion and now during the Russian invasion, he is helping as much as he can the Ukrainian army with production thanks to amazing collaborations with 032C and FOO AND FOO.

For Ukrainian designers, it’s not just about fashion, it’s about restoring order and demonstrating their honor and talent. The country was experiencing its own transition in the industry, successfully. It was such a fundamental change of attitude and perspective that was reflected in both new aesthetic trends and prevailing business strategies.

“I view culture as a living organism because it is carried by living beings – humans. A living organism always strives for preserving itself, its life. And every culture does that in its own way. I think that to preserve Ukrainian culture it is important to, first of all, support the people carrying it.” Explained Yuliya Magdich, fashion designer of Ukrainian culture and tradition, a vibrant personal style, with a desire to rethink Ukrainian national costume aesthetics inspired Julia Magdych to create her own fashion brand.

We, Ukrainians, are so inspired when people from foreign countries buy products ‘Made in Ukraine’, organize different exhibitions of Ukrainian artists abroad, and visit the concerts of Ukrainian musicians and performers. The culture of the Ukrainian people is distinctive, ancient and mystical. Its depth is impossible to render fully by the means of just visual symbols, which are often used as a way to support Ukrainian culture. One needs to immerse themselves into the culture, to feel its energy. And, in my opinion, products made in Ukraine are a good way to do this. I also think that translating and publishing the written works of Ukrainian classics abroad is a great idea to help preserve Ukrainian heritage. As well as revealing the true and scientifically credible history of our country for people to know and understand what stands behind our nation’s heritage and how long and hard we have been fighting to preserve our cultural identity.”




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Una publicación compartida de Anton Belinskiy (@antonbelinskiy)

ANTON BELINSKIY proposes a modern interpretation of the style, gender, and dress, Anton Belinskiy is a young visionary designer who is keen on creating avant-garde, but really wearable clothes. The signature utopian aesthetic plays with proportion, form and pre-conceived ideas to give the everyday an avant-garde twist. Anton Belinskiy founded his fashion brand in 2009. His playful, but conceptually fleshy, collections capture the spirit of Ukrainian youth, exuding effortless cool and the deeply subversive, radical attitude that endures in the city to this day. Such is an approach that has catapulted him into the elite fashion stratosphere. But even since garnering heavyweight international accolades—including a coveted LVMH award nomination in 2015—the heart of his work still harks to the chaotic, rebellious spirit thriving in his burgeoning home city.

The signature aesthetic Belinskiy polished in Kyiv—asymmetrical, distressed cuts, block colors and sportswear additions—have remained his trademark, but the designer’s conceptual narratives have evolved and now, more than ever, Anton Belinskiy’s work has a significant role in helping Ukrainian army during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Also thanks to his amazing collaborations with 032C and FOO AND FOO.

Ruslan Baginskiy experiments with traditional shapes and creates hats in the zeitgeist while taking inspiration from art, Ukrainian national costumes, archival family photos and vintage fashion imagery. He has showed at Ukrainian Fashion Week and during Haute Couture in Paris.

Ruslan has just launched a special drop of two baseball caps in blue and yellow. every piece is decorated with a hand-embroidered Ukrainian flag. Every piece is made in Ukraine during the war. All profits from the sale of the drop will be donated to a charitable foundation we know well and trust. Charitable Foundation of Serhiy Prytula is collecting aid and responding directly to the pressing needs of The Territorial Defense, Armed Forces of Ukraine, National Guard and other military units of the Ukrainian Army.



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Una publicación compartida de DZHUS (@dzhus.conceptual.wear)

DZHUS is a conceptual clothing and accessories brand founded in 2010 by Ukrainian designer and stylist Irina Dzhus. From the day of its launch, DZHUS has been a vegetarian-friendly brand. All the products are ethically manufactured using cruelty-free materials only. In 2019, DZHUS won the Cruelty-free Fashion prize at Best Fashion Awards – the most prestigious fashion rating in Ukraine, and in 2020 and 2021, BFA nominated the brand in the Sustainable Fashion category.

For DZHUS team, February 24 began with explosions all over the horizon, as Russia started its attack against Ukraine.

I got petrified with terror. In 5 minutes, I was packing an emergency bag. We called our relatives to check if they were alive” – designer Irina Dzhus recalls. Together with her husband and business partner Anatolii Elgert, and their 3 cats, she had to spend the next 4 days in a basement, hiding from bombing, before they could finally take the risk to escape from Kyiv suburbs.

The first few days were the most horrific. I was so shocked that I could neither sleep nor eat or even breathe properly” – Irina shares.

Then it took about 40 hours of an extremely tough journey to get to a safe place. The brand (and the cats) found their temporary refuge in Warsaw, Poland.

It was only possible to bring as many outfits as would fit in one luggage piece, so the hard choice was made immediately – and a small SS22 drop was given a chance. Until the team finds a way to resume their production processes, they have focused on stock sales.


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Una publicación compartida de DRESSX (@dressx)

DRESSX is a metacloset of digital-only clothes, NFT fashion items and AR looks.

Understanding the scale of the negative environmental footprint produced by the fashion industry, DRESSX was created by Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova in July 2020 as the first-ever platform for digital garments that generate zero waste, carbon footprints, and chemicals during their production.

Working with traditional and 3D fashion designers, DRESSX provides a sustainable alternative to traditional fashion, enabling digital garments to be worn on photos and videos as a substitute for physical clothes used for content creation. Since its launch, DRESSX has become the biggest platform for digital fashion, with over 170 designers on board and thousands of items digitized and available for purchase on the website.

Daria and Natalia were born and raised in Ukraine and were distraught when the war broke out in their home country. They did not waste a minute when thinking about ways to help, they launched the Support Ukraine Collection and are donating 100% of the proceeds to military and humanitarian efforts.


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Una publicación compartida de TTSWTRS clothing brand (@ttswtrs)

TTSWTRS: the well-known Ukrainian brand turned celebrity-cult favorite, is more than skin deep. Birthed in 2013 by Anna Osmekhina, the brand’s evolution is pushing the futuristic boundaries of humanity and artistry while keeping all of Earth’s creations at the core of its DNA.

In 2021, TTSWTRS said level-up; by unsubscribing to outdated fashion industry codes, the brand has reduced its collection size, unfollowed the typical fashion calendar, and holds itself to not producing a product if there is no reason for it to exist. Growing from the almighty inspiration of a tattooed body and its artist, the list of collaborators has expanded to highlight the works of international 3D digital designers, architectures, and sound designers, becoming the ultimate culturally collaborative brand.

TTSWTRS products are meant to question where the clothing ends and the body begins, stimulating the eye with its illusionary prints and designs. Concepts concerning the perception of a tattooed second skin, interpretations of our descendants’ energy, or the sheer strength of a Woman facing an Artificial Intellect all lead right back to the power of humankind, artistically communicated through high-quality pieces.

For more, visit:
Ukrainian Fashion Week
Kyiv Art Fashion Days
Lviv Fashion Week