On the anniversary of the conflict, six designers head to an exclusive trade show to prove that creativity continues to thrive despite adversity.
Ukraine has been entangled in its fight for freedom and unity for close to a year. Since the Russian invasion of the country, its citizens have adjusted their lives and their livelihoods to support their fight for freedom. Global response has been largely in support of Ukraine, with many countries showing solidarity by supporting the embattled country’s industries.
As the country approaches the first-year mark since the war began, six designers are looking to make a statement thousands of miles away, in New York City. Freedom Fashion Ukraine and the USAID Competitive Economy Program will be showcasing the designers this month at the exclusive COTERIE trade show, which will be held on February 21 to 23 at the Jacob Javits Center. This is the first time the trade show will be housing a Ukrainian booth since its inception in 1986.
According to USAID CEP chief of party Olesya Zaluska, the project will showcase “remarkable diversity in the styles that Ukrainian fashion brands have to offer” using the highest quality materials by the country’s finest artisans. “All the brands embrace the importance of sustainable fashion techniques and highlight Ukraine’s creativity while applying these values to their work,” she says.
The initiative to bring Ukraine fashion to New York is led by Jen Sidary, whose November 2020 trip to Kyiv in Ukraine first introduced her to the nation’s fashion players. “It’s incredible to think if it wasn’t for this, I would have never discovered this extremely talented Ukrainian fashion industry or met all these incredible people who I now consider family,” she says.
Here are the designers that will be featured in the show:
A brand that’s already showcased in a previous season of Ukraine Fashion for Freedom, Chereshnivska will be featuring a collection inspired by Ukrainian sculptors living and working in the brand’s native city. Their pieces, comprised of basics and upcycle collections, combine the characteristics of the city, with interpretations of soft, anatomical lines of cobblestones and the tangled lines of the city.
The self-named handcrafted leather goods brand by Arthur Kulakovsky has perfected leather craftsmanship for nearly 10 years. Apart from its long-time carryover pieces, the designer will be featuring new statement pieces that showcase different leather treatments and colors applied to popular garments such as bomber and biker jackets.
The jewelry designer’s Playground collection pulls from childhood memories, featuring bright colors and a mix of materials to create pieces that are playful and still maintaining craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Handmade jeweler Samokish brings their “Dreams” collection, which takes inspiration from the sun and warmth that represents a bright future. The pieces predominantly feature gold elements and bright colors, as well as asymmetrical designs and flower brooches.
Bringing a ready-to-wear collection celebrating craftsmanship and neo-couture, Valery Kovalska pieces will exhibit the brand’s distinctive features of unique design prints, pleats, and playful tuxedo architecture, with emphasis on techniques and handicraft.
TMosca uses high quality cotton, wool and mohair to create artistic interpretations of knitwear and basic everyday pieces. Their collection for the showcase centers around the light movement of the adventurous lady, with dresses and suits adorned with feather details.