LONDON — Ukrainian designer Lilia Litkovskaya is betting on the power of education to keep her country’s nascent fashion industry going.
That’s why on Saturday she’ll be debuting Schooll, a new educational project that will offer both online and off-line courses on topics ranging from fashion product engineering to sales to brands’ social responsibility.
Some of the teachers include the first editor in chief of Vogue Ukraine, Maria Tsukanova, as well as the founder of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi, Sofia Tchkonia.
She also has a group of international journalists, stylists, buyers and p.r. specialists on board.
The aim was to bring international thinking to the local community. “Fashion has no boundaries or definite place of residence, so the knowledge should be international, too, so that students can start thinking beyond borders,” Litkovskaya said.
A beta version of the project has already drawn both fashion novices, from perfumers to lawyers, looking for a career shift, as well as established professionals who want to take their brands to the next level.
“Naturally, a lot of them come from Ukraine, as there is still a big void in terms of fashion education in our country. There is a kind of cluster of professionals and talented people who need a good educational foundation,” said Litkovskaya, adding that students come to learn about creativity as much as business.
Her ultimate aim is to use the Schooll platform to become the “pillar of creative education in Ukraine,” extend its offer to a variety of disciplines and nurture local talent by way of scholarships and connections with international industry figures.
As the Ukrainian fashion industry gains more steam and the COVID-19 outbreak makes international travel more challenging, Litkovskaya believes that more young creatives will be looking to start their businesses and grow internationally, with Ukraine as their base.
“It’s good to work and grow here, because there is not such tough competition as in the big fashion capitals where the level of professionalism is rather high.”
There are obvious obstacles like the lack of government regulation for the fashion industry or manufacturing facilities, but with more young talents migrating back, there’s a potential for the country’s whole industry to be reignited.
“I want to bring real creatives into the world of Schooll, discover talents, fill them with knowledge and provide opportunities. That’s how we can show what a talented nation Ukrainians are,” the designer added.