For the One Year Anniversary No Ukrainian Will Celebrate
Freedom Fashion Ukraine headed to New York showcasing their collections created during a war and under constant air raid sirens on February 21st to the 23rd, with six of the country’s most affluent fashion designers at the exclusive Coterie Trade Show.
It’s been almost twelve months since the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The country is fighting for freedom and unity, defending the values of democracy, and resisting Russian aggression in all possible ways. Every Ukrainian citizen has adjusted their life, work, and business to help the country and financially support its fight for the world’s freedom.
For its fourth season – previous event held in Paris – the return to the “big apple” is now confirmed. Last year’s edition of Ukraine Fashion in New York opened just two days before the start of the full-scale invasion on February 24th.
USAID Competitive Economy Program will support the Ukrainian fashion industry through the grant for the Ukrainian company Lviv Fashion Week to showcase the designers at the exclusive trade show COTERIE located at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. USAID is the American development agency that works worldwide to drive development results. With vital support from USAID’s work in Ukraine which demonstrates American generosity and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience. It is extremely important to continue supporting the country’s economy by employing their staff especially to this predominately women’s industry as the men continue to fight on the front lines even as their cities, and country comes under attack.
“The project is designed to showcase remarkable diversity in the styles that Ukrainian fashion brands have to offer. The designers utilize the highest quality materials produced by the finest artisans, leading the industry in their craft. All the brands embrace the importance of sustainable fashion techniques and highlight Ukraine’s creativity while applying these values to their work”, – Olesya Zaluska, USAID CEP Chief of Party.
The COTERIE trade show first opened its doors in 1986 and has brought fashion’s biggest talents together to not only imagine, but actively create the trends of tomorrow bringing brands and buyers from around the world but has never housed a Ukrainian booth before this season.
“In 2020 during Covid I worked for Informa Markets and because of the pandemic the company had layoffs in October because no in-person events were allowed to take place. A month later I took a leap of faith which would change my life forever and embarked on my first journey to Ukraine in November 2020 buying a one-way ticket to Kyiv. It’s incredible to think if it wasn’t for this, I would have never discovered this extremely talented Ukrainian fashion industry or met all these incredible people who I now consider family,” – Jen Sidary, founder & CEO of ANGELFORFASHION.com
THE BEST UKRAINIAN FASHION BRANDS
TO ADD TO YOUR WARDROBE
This season’s returning designer is Chereshnivska and new to the USAID Competitive Economy Program is Kulakovsky, POCHÉ, Samokish, TMosca and Valery Kovalska. The brands will present their interpretation of women’s and unisex apparel plus jewelry to keep their businesses alive and their employees paid.
Ukrainian fashion often plays with traditional costume or uses the country’s historical background as a central premise of the brand, this heritage allows them to focus on the quality of the textiles and haberdashery. The design in Ukraine’s fashion industry is more than just a trend and is indeed an exceptional investment to any wardrobe.
Valery Kovalska brand with distinctive features and unique design prints, pleats, a commitment to playing with tuxedo architecture, sophisticated techniques, and handicraft.
Valery Kovalska ready-to-wear collection is a celebration of craftsmanship and «neo-couture». Extravagant yet feminine, is seen a contrasting ideas of exquisite couture designs, modern wearability, and bold dare-to-shine attitude. The distinctive feature of the collection is unique design prints, pleats, a commitment to playing with tuxedo architecture, sophisticated techniques, and handicraft.
Chereshnivska is a brand for lovers of comfort and things with meaning. Every collection is driven by a strong core idea yet still open for interpretation.
The collection’s inspiration is the Ukrainian sculptors who work and live in Chereshnivska’s native city Lviv, Ukraine.
The images in the collection are a combination of the soft anatomical lines of the sculpture, cobblestones, and the tangled lines of the city. This is all about the diversity and uniqueness of Lviv. Also, this year Chereshnivska is showing the best of basics and upcycle collections. Based in printed shirts and Upcycle jeans, shirts and jackets, and a capsule of vintage parachutes from the 1980s.
KULAKOVSKY is a brand of handcrafted leather goods created by Artur Kulakovsky, who perfected his craftsmanship and cultivated his unique style for nearly 10 years in his family’s leather workshop.
This season Kulakovsky will be present its long-time carryover pieces, and some new styles highlights include a bright red cropped biker jacket made of smooth leather, the oversized bomber jacket with pockets that is artificially eldered with natural tannins — a go-to piece for both women and men, and unisex reversible shearling bomber jacket.
POCHÉ JEWELRY pieces are designed to provoke thought and attract attention. Each mindfully enhances the style, personality, and vibe of their wearers through playful combinations of color and shape.
Playground collection was created to immerse in the childhood memories when all objects around us were colorful and full of variations to play with. The collection was born out of the mutual desire to create jewelry that is as playful as ready-to-wear and that maintains the same level of craftsmanship and exquisite attention to detail. Playground represents incredible work with bright colors and mixing different materials together to create something unique and special.
Samokish Jewelry is hand-made, all the pieces are precious and rather delicate, so gentle handling is required to keep your favorite jewelry piece in good condition.
The new collection “Dreams” is about sun and warmth which our country (Ukraine) is so lacking now. With faith in a bright future, we broadcast our love for beauty through bright colors and gold elements that permeate the entire collection. We continue our favorite theme with asymmetry and transformers earrings. We reproduce the favorite flowers of brooches in a new bright color scheme. With a dream of a warm sea and sun, we recreate the elements in gilding all handmade in Ukraine.
TMosca specialized in using the highest quality materials such as cotton, wool, and mohair, we offer an artistic touch on knitwear and everyday-routine pieces
The idea of the collection reflects the light movement of the adventurous lady. She is flying through life, lifted by the wind and her own lightness. There are iconic dresses and suits but upgraded with the feathers.
Ukraine Fashion in New York is led by Jen Sidary, a Global Fashion Expert whose career has spanned three decades. Thirty days after the war on Ukraine Jen launched an online platform to help the Ukrainian fashion industry survive called ANGELFORFASHION.com which houses 32 of the most prominent fashion brands. Jen was the Head of Zappos Couture at Zappos.com and went on to become the President of Sales for Vivienne Westwood America with a one-year stint at Informa Markets. The Freedom Fashion Ukraine collaboration was made possible with the continued support of the USAID Competitive Economy Program.
“The Ukrainian fashion industry is so blessed to have the support of USAID and I’m honored to be a part of such a magnificent initiative. I never dreamed in my thirty-year career my work in the fashion industry would help impact people’s lives in a real way. I must be the luckiest woman alive, and I’ve never been prouder to be an American watching how my country is supporting Ukraine in so many ways,” Sidary said.
CHERESHNIVSKA is a Ukraine-based unisex brand founded in Jahr 2016. We are focusing on innovations and sustainability. By 2024 50% of production will be made from recycled items. All our designs are available in very limited quantities. We believe that design combined with artistic value and sustainable practice will always matter. Most feature the unique hand-drawn prints by our creative director Anastasiya Rozava. Every collection is driven by a strong core idea, yet still open for interpretation. We try to reflect the modern world and show it through designs and prints.
Kulakovsky is a Ukrainian brand of handcrafted leather goods created by Artur Kulakovsky, who perfected his craftsmanship and cultivated his unique style for nearly 10 years in his family’s leather workshop. Starting from producing high-end leather outerwear, Kulakovsky’s product range grew up to the womenswear clothing and accessories lines, all handcrafted from genuine leather of the highest quality. Today, Kulakovsky is a full production workshop of investment leather pieces. All the garments are produced locally from carefully sourced leather and shearling following the brand’s slow-fashion approach to the manufacturing. Each item is handcrafted end-to-end by one tailor with additional services such as customization and made-to-measure tailoring.
POCHÉ is a demi-fine jewelry line for those who want to make an impact. Crafted, hand-finished pieces are unapologetic in their experimental combinations of bright colors, materials, and shapes. The one-of-a-kind designs speak for themselves — and they make a statement. Whether layered on an eccentric look or adding punch to a minimal moment, it is the link between your vision of yourself and the vibe you put into the world. Funky and accessible pieces that can be worn over and over, becoming iconic to you.
Samokish brand began its journey as a hobby of a young lawyer Kateryna Samokish in 2010. Being a student, the designer made her first jewelry pieces for herself from all available materials she had at home like plastic beads, etc. The idea to drastically change her life from law to art did not arise out of nowhere. Samokish is jewelry of European quality with a Ukrainian soul.
TMosca is a Kyiv-based label reinventing knitwear. Specialized in using the highest quality materials such as cotton, wool, and mohair, we offer an artistic touch on knitwear and everyday-routine pieces. Focusing on feminine silhouettes with unexpected sexy cuts, they create timeless designs, and the objective is to make our customers comfortable with themselves no matter what the occasion is. The open-back sweater and dress with cutouts at the waist – are the brand’s staple, surfacing in every collection with a new twist. Founded by Katerina Kvit and Oksana Shapovalova in 2014.
Valery Kovalska is a Ukrainian ready-to-wear brand providing a meticulously crafted and well-balanced solution for a standout black-tie dressing as well as original daily wardrobe. Recognizable deconstructed cut rooted in old world craftsmanship fosters the «neo-couture» allure of the brand’s collections. Extravagant yet feminine, Valery Kovalska brings together the contrasting ideas of exquisite couture designs, modern wearability, and bold dare-to-shine attitude. Its chic and comfortable clothing is destined to draw attention whether at red carpet, in business environment or during spontaneous getaway.
USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine (USAID CEP) supports business startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become more competitive in domestic and international markets, fosters a simplified and more transparent business enabling environment, as well as enables Ukrainian companies to benefit from free trade.