Ukraine takes Fashion to Paris

Seven Ukrainian designers will showcase their Autumn Winter 2023 collections at Paris Fashion Week from March 3rd to the 7th 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 maximize sales to foreign markets, proving that despite the war in their country they have much to offer to the fashion world.  

It will become an inspiring voyage for Ukrainian fashion brands. 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. 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 which will include showcasing of demi-Couture, ready-to-wear, and footwear creations that will target a wide range of women to their collections. With love and sustainability, Ukraine – against all the odds – makes its second journey to Paris Fashion  Week with a week-long showroom to introduce its latest manifesto to all the fashion industry professionals.  

Recurrent this season will include FROLOV a couture-to-wear brand that combines flawlessness  and comfort, intelligence and provocation, social responsibility and serenity 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 

that ensures any woman will stand out and be desired in all her styles, with reverence and quality.  My Sleeping Gypsy, a completely sustainable brand loved by all whose aim is to create wearable objects of art and embrace Ukrainian traditional roots, which go beyond fashion with a strong cultural value. Plus, last season’s grantee Chereshnivska a Ukraine-based unisex and completely sustainable brand that features unique hand-drawn prints utilizing recycled materials which makes this season quite a stunning reference to all the talent lying in the capital city of Kyiv. 

My Sleeping Gypsy

The other three designers, certainly not to be missed, are Katerina Kvit whose collection is fit for any stylist’s mood board and editorial wish list, always with a minimalistic approach to design using luxury materials as well tailoring standards to create sophisticated silhouettes. Paskal, an extremely playful fashion brand, who can master shapes, lines, and structure, which singled out their collections creating a strong brand DNA which her clients live for. Olena Dats’ another Prêt à-Porter de Lux, distinguished by the most complex techniques of processing and decoration,  launched Augmented Reality clothing in her studio during the war. 

Katerina Kvit

The project is again curated by Jen Sidary. Sidary 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. Ms. Sidary also launched a global e-commerce website built for Ukrainian designers in  April 2022 supporting the thirty-plus brands to ensure they survive the unjust war on their country.  

“I have huge respect for all the people of Ukraine and for how they are adapting their lives to  survive and continue to grow. 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,” Jen Sidary says. 

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. 

This is the fifth time 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. 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.  

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 realize 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.” 

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