“In critical moments, culture becomes a leading force for society. It is what sustains people's spirits and inspires them,” says Iryna Danylevska, founder and CEO of Ukrainian Fashion Week, that just rolled out in Copenhagen. Get to know the UFW designers and their latest collections below:
This season, Copenhagen played host to Ukrainian Fashion Week. “Since the Russian invasion, we have been living in a state of stress and survival felt in every corner of our country,” says Iryna Danylevska, founder and CEO of Ukrainian Fashion Week. “But designers have found the strength to create new collections to tell the world about Ukrainian resilience and courage,” she continues. “To showcase national identity through fashion, as an integral part of our culture.”
UFW has held digital events to support the brands over the past two years, and the autumn/winter schedule in the Danish capital marks its transition to offline presentations, featuring brands Chereshnivska, Domanof, J’amemme, Paskal and Fayina Yerenburh X Vozianov. The mis of designers collectively draw on their cultural heritage, modernising tradition of folk crafts and embroidery, fusing fashion with art and exploring diverse solutions for sustainability.
“Visibility is crucial during the ongoing war, allowing designers to receive orders from international markets,” Danylevska continues. “This is the way we contribute to the preservation of the businesses and hundreds of jobs in the Ukrainian fashion industry.” CPHFW was one of several fashion weeks to respond upon UFW reaching out. “We feel that fashion today is not only about diversity and sustainability but also about solidarity,” she exclaims with gratitude over the international support they’ve received.
“It may seem that culture and fashion are not a priority when bombs are dropping and people are dying. However, they save us in the chaos of war as something systematic and eternal,” she states. “In critical moments, culture becomes a leading force for society. It is what sustains people's spirits and inspires them.”
Discover the looks from the UFW collection below:
Chereshnivska’s AW24 collection honours Ukrainian heritage, inspired by the Hutsul artist Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit. “It’s sculpted to speak of both history and contemporary chic, all underpinned by our commitment to sustainability - this collection is more than fashion; it's a narrative woven through the threads of time, capturing the essence of a culture steeped in resilience and creativity,” observes founder of Chereshnivska, Iryna Kokhana.
“Paraska's legacy is immortalised through our use of 'vytynanka' – an artform she reimagined from the simplest of materials, which we've reincarnated into wearable art - now reinterpreted to adorn the modern individual,” the designer continues. In Ukraine, the vytynanka is traditionally used to decorate homes – something they nod to in the garments’ subdued tones, punctuated by bright accents.
“We've designed multifunctional pieces with detachable elements, allowing personal expression and versatility, using reworked vintage parachute canvas and old denim,” Kokhana explains. “Through our collection, we aim to evoke a sense of connection – to our past, to sustainable practices, and to the beauty inherent in repurposed materials. It's a tribute to the enduring strength of the human spirit and an invitation to partake in a vision of fashion where every stitch tells a story.”
’Scars’ is an expression of the emotional and physical scars left by loss. “We aimed to speak about the significant importance of support during the toughest times,” says Dima Domanof, the brand’s founder and creative director. “The war and the losses it brings has influenced us greatly.”
Handmade tailoring is used throughout – “as a symbol of wrapping our wounds and healing them, something that others can do.” Details are used to reflect the experiences of different groups during the war: men’s trousers remade into women’s skirts, children’s socks sewn into leggings. “They symbolise the women’s memory of their husbands, and the loss of children. The blouses are tied with short laces, like the thorny mesh used for protection,” explains Domanof. “We wanted to show how important it is sometimes to protect our scars with care.”
“Our collection is a fusion of modernity and cultural heritage, drawing inspiration from vibrant works of Ukrainian illustrator Okhrim Sudomora’s depiction of mushrooms and micelles,” explains Julie Yarmoliuk, founder and designer for J’amemme.
“We have developed an innovative approach to pleating techniques to enable us to maintain them,” continues Yarmoliuk. “Apart from our signature pleats, we used sequins to create a seamless effect of a second skin.” The craftsmanship is a testament to their seamstresses’ expertise; the placement of sequins is done by hand to retain the smooth edge of the garments.
“As a designer, my primary goal is to create truly unique pieces that leave a lasting legacy to prove how unique, modern and international Ukrainian design can be,” the designer reflects. “The fashion industry can be not only an embodiment of creative ideas, but also a platform for expressing important social realities, and I want to contribute to this dialogue.”
Fayina Yetenburh x Vozianov
Fayina Yetenburh’s collection for Vozianov is a bright spark during a dark time. The artist was curious about colour’s effect on the psycho-emotional state, and the integration of art into the everyday as a positive force. “These days, when life has become almost black and white, I crave colour,” says Yetenburh.
“I fully adhere to his postulate that colour is life and a world without colour would be dead to us.” The product is a collection of richly bright dresses and coats, as well as a line of silk scarves, to bring energy and optimism to those who see them. “Release the colour to freedom, pour the colour on the streets of the city,” she finishes.
The inspiration for Paskal’s AW24 collection ‘Out of the Cocoon’ portrays the butterfly’s rebirth. “It’s beauty and it’s transition, beginning, and end,” says designer Julie Paskal, previous finalist of the first LVMH prize.
“I want to bridge the playful and intellectual, girlish and strong, fantastic and real, making them wearable,” explains Paskal. Her eponymous label is known for its delicate silhouettes and minimalistic approach to design, using laser cutting to reflect nature and its architecture. Here employed to replicate the details of the butterfly through appliqués.
“Aesthetic fractals, the cyclic structure of life, and otherworldly yet accessible feelings underlie my designs,” which are dreamlike as they float down the runway. The silhouettes are feminine and elegant, imbued with asymmetrical cutouts and openings, to create soft lines in her garments. “When the butterfly flutters its wings, we open our eyes to a new realm of beauty,” she finishes.