In the wake of two social revolutions, Ukraine's new blood are taking on the fashion industry
Nine years separates two revolutions in Ukraine - the Orange Revolution in 2004 and the Euromaydan in 2013. Through these years, the country has experienced a massive change, and the new generation of progressive fashion designers have been born. They all are young, smart, European-oriented and forward thinking. They may have a very different style, but what unites them are their desire to conquer the world of International fashion and their honor of being Ukrainian. As every post-Soviet country, Ukraine has experienced a tough phase of aggressive glamour, both on runways and on the streets. With the rise of a new generation of fashion creatives, the previous galore was abandoned and the new rules came into reality. The new Ukrainian style can be characterized as utterly sophisto: modest cut, urban touch, inventive materials, romanticism, sporty elements and the general feeling of naive yet mature simplicity.
All the adepts of this new fashion are showing on Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days - a European-oriented platform, which enables them to showcase their works on the International level. The previous seasons of the event were visited by such fashion influentials as Hilary Alexander, Yelena Yemchuk, Karen Langley, Valerie Steele (FIT), Christopher Breward (ECA), Aliona Doletskaya (Interview Russia) and others. The fashion week was launched in 2010 with a plan to put Ukraine on the world’s fashion map, the aim which was achieved after three years of hard work and rapid development, both for the designers, fashion society and the event itself. It also serves as a great platform not only for the designers from Ukraine, but also for the creatives from the whole region – as Kiev is becoming the centre city for the whole Eastern European region, the more designers from the neighboring countries are coming to showcase their collection at Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days. Also, some of the London-based cool talents showed their collections here as the guest stars of the event: Marios Schwab, Jean-Pierre Braganza, Felder Felder and Charlie Le Mindu.
The art-director of Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days Kati Garbuz asked seven Ukrainian designers, who were somehow involved in the events, to create masks, 'face of the protest', and took models inside the Maidan to photograph their own puzzle of the new fashion revolution.
Anton Belinskiy has established his style as the one that relies on the National codes, which are reworked in a modern way with touches of sporty motifs and slouchy elegance. His spring summer collection is an homage to the Ukrainian blue and yellow flag, which has served as a backdrop for his runway and as a source of ideas for the colour scheme.
Sasha Kanevsi is an already established brand, which each season presents his collection in Kiev and Berlin. With such a retailer on board, as Hypebeast (where his recent capsule collection is being sold) he is gaining an International legion of followers, and proves his cult status among the Kiev youth.
Julia Paskal was born in Odessa – a very authentic Ukrainian town by the sea. Her vision is naïve and feminine, but due to her architectural education, her lines are strong and confident.
Anna October creates those kind of dresses you can wear for parties and be sure that you don’t look too girly or elderly feminine – her vision of a modern girl totally corresponds with her personality – intellectual, forward thinking and open-minded.
Yasya Khomenko was raised surrounded by art: even now her design studio is located near the creative space of her sister, who is a prominent contemporary artist. Yasya aesthetic is dare and childish – the mixture which is possible only in the most creative minds.
Bob Basset reached cult status when their masks were used in one of the Givenchy men’s show. Since then, the items by “workshop of unique, high-quality art pieces” from Ukraine were seen on the pages of avant-garde International magazines and in the private collections of their fans worldwide.
Odessa-born Masha Reva is doing everything to build a serious European brand: does her MA at Central Saint Martins, sells her clothes in stores worldwide (In particular, Ikram in Chicago) and showcases her capsule collection in Paris. Still, her aesthetic is paying tribute to her Ukrainian roots, as seen in her recent collection “Odessa series”.
Photography Sasha Kurmaz
Art direction Kati Garbuz
Models Ania Usanova & Alevtina Radionova
Designers RCR Khomenko, Anton Belinskiy, Masha Reva, Paskal, Anna October, Bob Basset, Sasha Kanevski