It was beautiful seeing how fashion can dress up a city that suffered so much not that long ago. Kyiv is now far from those days where people had to fight for their rights; these efforts are now visible. Anyone visiting the city can breathe that sense of freedom and progress that its citizens achieved by demonstrating on the streets. That’s exactly what Iryna Danylevska, co-founder of the Ukranian FW, meant when she told me that, “in this country, there’s not only war, there are incredibly talented people, and I think that Ukrainian Fashion Week creates a positive and more representative image of the nowadays country.”
During four days and around thirty fashion shows, Ukrainian designers made sure everyone could see what they are capable of. With a special focus on sustainability, this year’s fashion week was a demonstration of the new and alternative production processes that are friendlier with our planet. Ukrainian designers mainly use two: on one hand, recycling materials and using new technologies to create fabrics that don’t have such a negative impact on Earth, which is something many designers around the world are embracing.
On the other hand, using artisanal, hand-made processes, as Iryna explains. “The Ukrainian industry has a very developed craftsmanship, and this is a very interesting working method in fashion because it makes it slower, therefore more sustainable, long-lasting and also exclusive and high-quality.” Today, sustainability is a big issue within the fashion industry and its future depends on it. “When it comes to sustainability, in fashion it is a do or die”, concludes Iryna.
Founded in 1997, Ukrainian Fashion Week was the first one from the Soviet area and Eastern Europe. From the very beginning, helping young designers was one of the main focuses, and that is how the Young Designers Contest was born in 2000. Years later, they wanted to do more, and so they created Fresh Fashion, another platform to help emerging designers to enter and establish themselves in the highly competitive market of high-fashion. Therefore, it is unquestionable how UFW has catapulted many Ukranian designers to international commerce and now they are presenting their collections around the world. It is the case of Kseniaschnaider, for instance, who after being in Paris, closed the second day of the UFW with an astonishing show.
This Fall/Winter 2020 season, around fifteen thousand guests fell for the more than sixty participants that showcased their talent through fashion shows, exhibitions and installations, which were mainly gathered at the Mystetskyi Arsenal venue. Four days full of fashion that we sum up for you in the following highlights. So, here are some of the best shows, designers and collections that shined on the runway.