Growing up as a Ukrainian American, my heritage has always been a big part of my upbringing. With the unimaginable happening to our brothers and sisters in the homeland, the influence that our shared culture has had on my friends and family, as our identity as people, and for me as a creative, is even more obvious. It may have always been a force in our lives, but now, as the world witnesses the unfolding tragedies and the bravery of the Ukrainian people, the pride and global awareness of Ukrainian culture is erupting.
It’s been more than a week since Russia invaded Ukraine, and local industries are doing their best to stay afloat despite the tragedy and chaos. There are many ways to support Ukraine, whether by signing petitions, donating to organizations helping refugees and war efforts, or spreading information. Another way to show your support is to discover independent Ukrainian manufacturers whose livelihood depends on their activities.
Here, we spotlight 12 Ukrainian fashion designers, from established names to emerging talent, to keep on your radar. You’ll find inspiration in our rich heritage, such as the handcrafted embroidery found in traditional costumes, as well as whimsical and modern designs that showcase the vibrant spirit that also prevails. Above all, cultural identity seeps into every collection.
(Note: At time of publication the following brands are shipping, but due to current events this may change at any time.)
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Known for its bohemian spirit and relaxed silhouettes, this cult namesake label is heavily influenced by the designer’s Ukrainian heritage, particularly in her use of Vyshyvanka patterns, a traditional Ukrainian embroidery technique. Each piece is meticulously created by hand in the Kiev workshop using artisanal methods that have endured for centuries.
Founded in 2015 by Ivan Frolov, this “couture-to-wear” brand is a red carpet favorite. Starlets such as Gwen Stefani, Dua Lipa and Rita Ora are among those who have sported the line’s eye-catching pieces, which include corsets, asymmetrical jumpsuits and crystal-embellished dresses. Frolov strives to create clothing that is all about freedom of expression, a message that has never rang truer.
Kachorovska first started as a family business, then turned into a small workshop and finally turned into a company with more than 100 employees. This well-known accessories brand creates high-quality, on-trend styles at affordable prices. In addition to purchasing existing models, you can also order a custom piece through their Atelier program.
Founded in 2014 by two former fashion editors, Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varetsa, the high-end sleepwear line has evolved into versatile pieces that can even be worn outside the home. In fact, you’ve probably spotted the feather-trimmed pajamas on Instagram, your favorite TV show, or even on Oprah Daily! We also like candy-colored linen dresses, floral outfits and shoes. Plus, each garment is handmade with sustainable materials using zero-waste manufacturing practices.
Founded and based in Kiev since 2006, Bevza is known for its sophisticated knitwear and textured dresses made with sustainable materials such as recycled plastic and deadstock fabric. The brand also showed up at New York Fashion Week for several seasons, garnering street style submissions for its comfy and chic balaclavas last February. Don’t miss the origami-shaped bags and the minimal boots.
While starting out as a fashion designer at age 20, Ruslan Baginskiy handcrafted haute couture headwear for photo shoots. After interning with several local milliners to hone his craft, Baginskiy launched his own eponymous collection. Inspired by Ukrainian national costumes, art and vintage fashion, the trendy hats feature unique silhouettes and beautiful details like strings of pearls – no wonder they’ve been spotted perched on many famous heads, including Madonna , Amanda Gorman, Miley Cyrus.
Born and raised in Kyiv, designer Tamara Davydova founded Minimalist last year on the premise of offering timeless, wearable clothing made ethically in New York City using a closed-loop, circular process – everything is biodegradable and recyclable. Invest in sleek, lightly draped blazers, sets or jumpsuits and you’ll have them for many years to come. Buy now and 30% of profits will go to the Red Cross and UNICEF in Ukraine; and use code TOGETHER for 10% off.
Ukrainian knitwear company 91 Lab specializes in handcrafted knitwear that uses refined techniques and innovative technologies. Textures such as intricate jacquards and signature weaves are prevalent throughout the collection. The designs are unique yet versatile enough to be worn over and over.
With a background in architecture, designer Julie Paskal took this training to launch her fashion line known for its sculptural silhouettes and dreamy aesthetic. The innovative brand, which was honored as a finalist for the coveted LVMH award in 2014, uses techniques such as laser cutting and precision tailoring to construct the delicate dresses.
Kyiv-based husband and wife Ksenia and Anton Schnaider have combined their talents as fashion designers and graphic designers to create an avant-garde ready-to-wear brand. Sustainability is at the forefront of the collection, with many pieces made up of reworked and upcycled items. They’re best known for their edgy denim pieces, like this patchwork blazer.
Accompaniment by Poustovit
While Lilia Poustovit founded her homonymous line in 1998, focusing on everyday dresses, the label also offered a unisex streetwear capsule called Support – and we couldn’t think of a more fitting name for the current times. Inspired by the ever-changing youth culture in Ukraine, it features work by graphic designers, artists, stylists and photographers. Cozy t-shirts and sweatshirts may look cool, but the brand’s real goal is to shine a light on young creatives.
Chershnivska is made up of a small group of craftsmen from the western city of Lviv. Each item is handmade by one of their skilled tailors, many of which feature hand-drawn prints by an artist from neighboring Belarus. Due to the current crisis in their country, they now donate all of their profits to provide food and basic necessities for their employees.
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