By Gary Symons
TLL Editor in Chief
The upcoming Fashion Week in Paris will give companies a chance to support Ukrainian designers, as they fight to survive the Russian invasion.
Seven Ukrainian designers will showcase their Autumn Winter 2023 collections at Paris Fashion Week from March 3-7 in the famous first arrondissement located at 7 Rue d’Argenteuil.
This season designers will present their collections, the most ever showcased at one time, with the support of USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine. All the brands have the same goal, which is to increase their global visibility and maximise sales to foreign markets, proving that despite the war in their country they have much to offer to the fashion world.
Organizers say this has been a difficult buy inspiring process for the Ukrainian designers, who have had to produce their creations in the middle of the largest land war since World War II.
“After the most challenging year in these designers’ lives, and stories surfacing daily of their struggling journeys from 2022, these strong Ukrainian entrepreneurs find themselves still fighting to keep their businesses alive,” the organizers said in a statement. “They continue to create handmade collections under constant air raid sirens, move ateliers to bomb shelters, factories having to shift production to produce clothing items for Ukraine’s military, or construct under recurring blackouts.”
The seven designers in this season’s project aim to lead Ukrainian’s fashion industry scene in France that will include showcasing of demi-Couture, ready-to-wear, and footwear creations that will target a wide range of women to their collections. Against all the odds, this is the second journey in a row to Paris Fashion Week, and this year will feature a week-long showroom to introduce its latest manifesto to all the fashion industry professionals.
The show is also an excellent opportunity for licensors and licensees to work with Ukrainian fashion designers, who not only have the ability to create cutting edge fashion, but also inspire a message of courage, hope, and commitment to democracy.
Returning this year will be FROLOV, a couture-to-wear brand who is recently known for the Firework minidress designed especially for Beyoncé, and written about in many of the top media outlets around the globe.
Kachorovska, the largest Ukrainian footwear success story, is also returning this year, as is My Sleeping Gypsy, a completely sustainable brand loved by all whose aim is to create wearable objects of art and embrace Ukrainian traditional roots, and Chereshnivska, a Ukraine-based unisex and completely sustainable brand that features unique hand-drawn prints utilising recycled materials.
Three designers who are new to Paris Fashion Week include Katerina Kvit, known for a minimalistic approach to design using luxury materials as well tailoring standards to create sophisticated silhouettes; Paskal, an extremely playful fashion brand; and Olena Dats, whose work is distinguished by the most complex techniques of processing and decoration, and who famously launched Augmented Reality clothing in her studio during the war.
The project is again curated by Jen Sidary, who has been working with Ukraine’s fashion industry since 2020, before the war, and implemented the idea to showcase the talented country’s fashion industry at fashion weeks for the first time in September 2021.
Sidary also launched a global ecommerce website—ANGELFORFASHION.com—built for Ukrainian designers in April 2022, and supporting the thirty plus brands to ensure they survive the War in Ukraine.
“I have huge respect for all the people of Ukraine and for how they are adapting their lives to survive and continue to grow,” Sidary says. “I have discovered a hidden gem which is where much of the world’s history began but many of us just didn’t know it. Ukraine’s fashion industry is one I want to work with for the rest of my career.
“While fashion may seem like a frivolous distraction in the face of such a terrifying situation for the people of Ukraine, there are many talented brands we could all support and show our solidarity for the country and its people,” Sidary adds.
This is the fifth time the USAID Competitive Economy Program, has supported this project and its second season in Paris.
This year USAID CEP in Ukraine provided opportunities to the Ukrainian fashion brands to showcase their collections within Paris Fashion week with the grant to the West Ukrainian Fashion Industry Cluster.
Olesya Zaluska, USAID CEP Chief of Party says, “Ukrainian fashion businesses have a huge potential to win the hearts and minds of those who appreciate quality and design. The brands realise that all eyes are on Ukraine now and proudly represent the country. USAID CEP supports Ukrainian fashion businesses and apparel companies who along with other industries contribute to the nascent recovery of the economy.”
Since its inception USAID Competitive Economy Program has been providing extensive support to the apparel industry in Ukraine as it was showing considerable growth and creating new jobs before 2022 and has proved its remarkable resilience after the start of the full-scale war.
“Ukrainian fashion businesses have a huge potential to win the hearts and minds of those who appreciate quality and design,” says USAID CEP Chief of Party Olesya Zaluska, “The brands realise that all eyes are on Ukraine now and proudly represent the country. USAID CEP supports Ukrainian fashion businesses and apparel companies who along with other industries contribute to the nascent recovery of the economy.”
Anyone wishing to set up an appointment with organizer Jen Sidary can contact her at +1 913 219 4658, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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