A group of Ukrainian designers are trying to do their part to strengthen the nation’s economy by, if not bulking up their businesses, keeping them running, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine intensifies.
Ukraine fashion in Paris is being championed by international fashion consultant Jen Sidary, who started the online platform Angelsforfashion in late March, a month after Russian forces first rolled into Ukraine.
From Oct. 1 to 6, six Ukrainian designers will be showing their collections in Paris, after Sidary helped line up the Good Six Showroom as a location. Frolov, Kachorovska and Chereshnivska, who have shown in Paris before, will return, while newcomers include Litkovska, My Sleeping Gypsy and Oliz. Retailers, stylists, celebrities and editors can expect a range of women’s apparel, unisex clothing, footwear and scarves.
This collaboration is happening through the support of the USAID Competitive Economy Program. Natalia Petrova, USAID project manager of the Economic Growth Office, said decreased demand due to Ukraine’s diminished population and broken supply chain are prompting companies to explore export opportunities.
The brands showing at the Good Six Showroom are looking to extend their distribution internationally. A few, including Ivan Frolov and Lilia Litkovska, who recently changed the spelling of her surname, visited the U.S. for a few days earlier this month to participate in a group presentation during New York Fashion Week. By visiting different cities, the Ukrainian designers are trying to make personal connections so that they are not just names on a label. They are also following through with the edict set by Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska, who have called on business owners in Ukraine — across all fields — to carry on with their operations to support the domestic economy.
Sidary noted that the event is not a charity effort, and that Ukrainian designers are doubly challenged, as some have relocated to other countries and are now shuttling back and forth from nearby countries by land to Ukraine to periodically check in with their respective teams and production, as flights in and out of Ukraine are currently not an option.