Almost a year has passed since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, giving rise to a conflict that has destabilized the lives of millions and led to excruciating hardship as Ukrainian civilians work—whether at home or abroad—to keep their families safe and livelihoods intact. For the fashion world in Ukraine—a diverse and highly skilled industry with specialisms in luxury, bridal and outerwear—it has been a time of recalibration, rehabilitation and resistance, as brands have been forced to adapt and pivot amidst incredible hardship. Blackouts scupper clothing production, power cuts prevent communication and creatives reel at the decimation of their country’s cultural touchstones and landmarks.
But even amidst the pain and uncertainty, strength shines through. “Inside we are all stronger than before,” says Yana Olenich, founder of the eponymous womenswear label Olenich. “Unity and resistance is in our blood.” A year on, five designers reveal what their personal and professional realities look like now.