More than a year has passed since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Countless Ukrainians have lost their families and relatives as a result of this conflict. This instability in the region is also affecting the citizen’s resources of livelihood.

The event held at Selfridges in London showcased the work of designers Frolov, Ksenia Schnaider and Paskal | Credit: Henry Nicholls / Reuters

The fashion world of Ukraine has also not remained untouched by this. But even in the midst of pain and uncertainty, strength shines through. The tycoons of the fashion world did not let this problem come in the way of their work.

The designers kept the lamp of art burning amidst the explosions and smoke of war. The designers reveal what their personal and professional realities look like now. They not only exposed the ground reality but also exposed the mental condition of the people.

An Expression of Change

Ivan Frolov is the creative director of the women’s wear brand Frolov, which he founded in 2015. He has created looks for Dua Lipa, Gwen Stefani and Sam Smith.

London Fashion Week was an opportunity for designers to debut new collections. But this time for Ukrainian designer Ivan Frolov, the occasion was more an expression of emotion than fashion.

He chose to wear a Ukrainian flag T-shirt for his show, and this was seen as an expression of “keeping the conversation going about the war”.

Describing the incident of the war, he says “on Feb. 24, bombs began falling around my apartment in central Kyiv. I sent messages to my team, telling them to do whatever they could to stay safe.

After a few weeks, they all text the designer saying they wanted to continue as normal. so that we could take part in the war effort, and I returned home.”

Finally, he adds that,

“We’re experts in constructing corsets and bras and evening gowns. Instead, when our production lines started again, we were making uniforms, bulletproof vests and rocket and grenade holders. But we did the best we could”.

In January, Ivan got the call-up to design one of the outfits for the star’s Dubai concert. Beyoncé’s decision to wear a Ukrainian brand meant a lot to Ivan.

It was always my dream to dress Beyoncé, but now those dreams have changed… Right now, I have only one dream and it’s a victory of Ukraine”

he explains.

While looking towards the future, Ivan still feels hopeful that his fashion show will return to Kyiv instead of London one day.

An Atmosphere of War

Credit: i am volya

Ksenia Schnaider is the creative director of KseniaSchnaider, which is best known for its upcycled denim collections. She started with her husband, Anton, in 2011.

Sharing war experience, she said “I used to live near Kyiv airport, so on the morning of Feb. 24, I woke at dawn to the sound of massive explosions. I didn’t leave my apartment that day. I just looked out the window and watched bombs go off and hundreds of people running with suitcases. I just couldn’t believe that what I saw was real.  because of my child, I made the decision to leave, and we travelled to Budapest.

She says. “For a while, I felt like I could never design again and that I’d lost my brand.  I divided all the money we had left in the company account to our employees. But in the spring, my team started reaching out again.”

By attending London Fashion Week this year amid the uncertain atmosphere of the war, she expressed her determination to fashion in the world, also her respect for Ukrainian.

Ukrainian fashion designer Ksenia Schneider said during London Fashion Week  “This show is very important to us. It is a signal that we continue to function as a brand, create new collections and won’t lose heart. London is one of the best places for such a manifestation because the attention of the entire global fashion community is focused here. It’s important to send a signal to the world that Ukraine is a wonderful country that’s capable of creativity under any condition.”

A Common Future

Credit: Instagram @ukrainianfashionweek_offical

Julie Paskal, founder and creative director of PASKAL, whose designs focus on innovative architecture and the delicate fragility of silhouettes. Pascal’s distinctiveness of colour and silhouette has become synonymous over the past 10 years.

Referring to war experience Julia Paskal said, “I’d be working in my studio, and I’d hear rockets flying, or we’d have to run to the bomb shelter but that’s just our lives now.”

According to her, the hardships of the past year have brought her team closer than ever. On the second day after the invasion, she brought her team together and started making clothes for the army.

“Today, more than ever, we need creativity to support the spirit in times of war. To create, not to destroy, is our vocation. For me, this show is a manifestation of our will to live. It is the realization of our power to create in spite of everything”, says Paskal.

Designers Ksenia Schneider, Ivan Frolov and Julie Pascal carry the flag of Ukraine after their show at London Fashion Week recently. And it proved that even in the face of adversity and challenges, the designers’ spirit has not died down.

Story source / further reading:

Vogue: link

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