Ukrainian designers send out defiant message

Ukrainian designers send out defiant message

Ukrainian designers send out defiant message

Ukrainian designers sent out a defiant message at London Fashion Week on Feb. 21 with clothes made from the neck ties their menfolk no longer wear and butterfly motifs to symbolize the “fragility of life.”

The three collections by fashion labels Kseniaschnaider, Paskal and Frolov were put together in Ukraine despite constant interruptions from missile attacks and air raid sirens.

“I think it’s really important not to stop,” said Ksenia Schnaider, one half of the husband and wife team behind the Kseniaschnaider label.

The designer has been travelling back and forth from Ukraine and her new base in the U.K., where her daughter is at school, since taking the decision to carry on with fashion despite the war.

Schnaider feared she might “never be able to create again” after being forced to leave Kiev last March. But after travelling to Hungary, then Germany and finally Britain, she decided she had to continue for the sake of herself and her team.

“You can’t stop even if reality is terrible, you should continue doing what you do best, still be creative, try to bring beauty to this world of tragedy,” she told AFP.

Kseniaschnaider’s Autumn Winter 2023 collection featured plenty of the brand’s trademark denim along with blazers and skirts made out of surplus stocks of neck ties now that Ukrainian men have swapped them for military fatigues.

“It’s really meaningful because Ukrainian men don’t need ties now because they are fighting,” she said.

Julie Paskal said all four of the designers behind the three labels had been conflicted over whether it was right to carry on with fashion as the war unleashed by Russian President Vladimir Putin still rages.

But she felt they made the right decision and was “incredibly grateful” to London Fashion Week for hosting them while their own annual event in Kiev is displaced.

Her laser-cut appliqued “butterfly” creations were inspired by the “fragility of life and death,” Paskal said.

Frolov designer Ivan Frolov, originally inspired by drag and transgender culture, looked to Ukraine’s “cultural heritage” in his creations with hand-knitted sweaters with the Ukrainian wheat ear fertility symbol and corset dresses embroidered with Swarovski crystals.