Архів категорії: Ukraine

Outstanding Ukrainian women: OLENA PCHILKA

Olena Pchilka, 1870s

Olena Pchilka is the literary pseudonym of Lesya Ukrainka’s mother Olga Petrivna Kosach (nee Drahomanova). ОІenа Pchilka was one of the foremost Ukrainian suffragists, a woman who during the long span of her life proved her proficiency in many fields of action. She was a writer and excelled as a journalist, she carried on researches in Ukrainian folklore, and above all was a model of a wife and a mother of six children.

Olena Pchilka (from the right side), 1890
Olena Pchilka, 1860-th

She was born in 1849 in Ukraine, then under Czarist Russia. The years of her childhood were the period of spreading of liberal thought in Russia. True, the Czarist regime was still potent, however the liberation of serfs was drawing near, for they were set free in 1861. From the age of twelve, Olga Drahomanova studied at the Kyiv Boarding School for Noble Girls.
Her father sympathized with the movement and her brother Michael. Drahomaniv was animated and elated at the prospect of freedom for peasants. Thus the young girl had already learned in her family home the meaning of misfortune of fellow men as well as of labor to overcome their distress.
In 1868 she married Petrо Kossach, a judge, and their life was very
happy. She had been busy taking care of the household and rearing
her children, still she has always had in mind the object which s’he
fixed in her youth — to work for the cause of the oppressed Ukrainian people. To this cause she devoted all her skill and ardent spirit. At the start she tried at literary ventures — poems, essays, novels, translations. While studying the folklore, she collected many folksongs, proverbs and tales which she printed in scientific editions. She had been readily
contributing her own funds to ward the expenses for publishing
the material. Later on she turned to publishing and editing her own newspaper “Ridny Kray” (Native Land) which continued for 8 years with the supplement for children under the title of “Young Ukraine.”

Olena Pchilka (Drahomanova Olga Petrovna), Kyiv, 1867

After World W ar I she was employed at the Academy of Sciences in Kyiv. She died in her 82 year, alert and eager for work to the last day of her life.
In the course of her work, of her -tireless efforts, Olena Pchilka initiated a field of activity which afterwards unfolded gradually, until it grew into prominence. While studying the life of her people, she was moved and inspired by the beautiful Ukrainian folk art.

Olena Pchilka, 1870-th

She soon realized that this art is valuable only in its originality of design which must be studied and shown at home and abroad. Hence she started to collect the copies of designs of embroidery and Easter eggs which she edited and published in 1875. This work became the basis for further explorations and studies. It has been recently re-іssued in Germany and is still indispensable to those who wish to acquaint themselves with, the originality of design of Ukrainian embroidery.

Traditional Ukrainian designs of embroidery edited by Olena Pchilka
Traditional Ukrainian designs of embroidery edited by Olena Pchilka
Traditional Ukrainian designs of embroidery edited by Olena Pchilka

Olena Pchilka merited the gratitude of Ukrainian women because it was through her persuasive inducement that the folk art which was already declining and on the verge of vanishing — had soon developed into a carefully cultivated field and has embellished the expression of Ukrainian life. Yet we failed to mention Olena’s other great achievement which elevates her to great distinction among our prominent women. She not only served her people with her talent and deepfelt patriotism, but also presented it with a precious lasting gift— with the greatest Ukrainian poetess. Her daughter, Lessya Ukrainka, is one of the leaders of Ukrainian artistic creation. It was her inspired motherhood which inculcated in her daughter and other children lofty ideals and this was perhaps her greatest contribution. She adopted a fitting pseudonim, “pchilka,” which means little bee, a little worker among small creatures that tirelessly works and assembles. Her spirit evolved the spirituality of her daughter which remains like a culmination of her own lifelong striving and labor.

Olena Pchilka and Lesya Ukrainka. Yalta, January 1898

Lydia Burachynska.

Our Life, 1953, №4.

Look also: Леся Українка – лицарівна Belle Epoque

Лекції Мирослава Мельника

VYSHYVANKA: more than 100 years in fashion

International Vyshyvanka Day, May 19, 2022

Vyshyvanka in Ukraine is a serious thing – it is a national symbol, and a work of traditional arts and crafts, and a powerful amulet of Ukrainians. But fashionable things, on the contrary, are international, temporary, and superficial. Despite this, in the history of fashion from the beginning of the twentieth century until today there have been many seasons when the vyshyvanka was the “last cry”, enriching trends with traditions and absorbing the spirit of the moment.

From the point of tradition, an embroidered shirt should never be called an “vyshyvanka” – it is a very gross violation, as well as a shirt shortened to the thighs (this is a blouse). It will be a desecration of tradition to wear a long shirt uncovered below the waist (plakhta, derga, zapaska (traditional apron), lytnyk (summer skirt), etc.).

Girls in Ukrainian traditional costumes, Donetsk region, 1924
Schuri calendar, 2017
Project “Nation” Ukrainian authentic costume of the end of XIX – the middle of XX century Project manager Ksenia Malyukova Zhytomyr region

But fashion is not a tradition and allows itself all sorts of wonderful embroideries: dresses, blues and even T-shirts with printed patterns. Fashion can allow everything – it is part of modern mass culture of consumption, not the traditional culture of a unique craft. Fashionable vyshywankas, mostly, are only interpretations or imitations of traditional embroidered shirts.

Vyshyvankas make the tradition relevant. According to Google Analytics statistics, the query “embroidered shirt” is almost 20 times less than the query “vyshyvanka”. As a blogger who has been running modoslav.blogspot.com for more than 10 years, I see that people come to me for “vyshyvanka”, and I deliberately prescribe “vyshyvanka” in my posts to have traffic, to be found, read, liked, and shared. Similarly, designers make vyshyvankas to sell more.

Vyshyvanka, XIX century

The big problem with the culture in general and traditional culture, in particular, is that it is a bit distant from ordinary people, trying to impose something on them, and no one thinks about how to do something so interesting that people want it. In most cases, cultural figures complain about the lack of orders (once commissioned by the Communist Party, the state) and demand funding. Fashion (and this area is completely commercial) immediately feels what is in a trend, what consumers demand – it immediately picks it up and exploits it to the maximum.

The term “vyshyvanka” originated a long time ago. For example, in the ’90s in Kyiv fashionable brochures “Vyshyvanka” was published. Models far from traditional shirts were offered, but traditional embroidery motifs were used to decorate them.

Schuri calendar, 2017

Ukrainians probably use the basic elements of traditional costume in everyday life easier and more often than representatives of other European nations, but over-identification of the national style with vyshyvanka in our country often leads to so-called “vyshyvatnytstvo” and kitsch. For example, embroidered shirts were worn on living cats or dogs, as well as on monuments to Lenin. Obviously, this does not change the essence of things and it is better not to torture animals and remove the bloudy leader “away from Ukraine”.

Fortunately, fashion deals with lively and beautiful people, and vyshyvankas as a fashion item were offered by magazines and studios in the early twentieth century. The dresses of Paul Poirier or Coco Chanel used certain elements of the embroidered shirt. At that time, such things were perceived as exotic (like Japanese kimonos or African bracelets) and did not have an ethno-national value.

Schuri calendar, 2017

In 1930-1940, many vyshyvankas were also offered in fashion magazines. This was due to the actualization of national sentiments and trends in Europe before the Second World War. Brochures with patterns and embroidery patterns were published. These embroidered shirts were called somewhere Bavarian, somewhere Russian, and somewhere Romanian, but, for the most part, the embroidered shirt in these fashions appeared as an attribute not of a particular nation, but of the social stratum – as a peasant blouse. And to this day, this culture is a rural culture after all. And so, perhaps, it was not so popular in the fashion of the twentieth century – the village was considered less developed than the city. It is already in the post-industrial era, and everyone began to sing odes to handicrafts and environmental materials.

In the Soviet Union, vyshyvankas are a special topic, because, since the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks, nationalism has been strongly condemned, but almost all Soviet artistic modeling was built on the promotion of folk traditions. They wanted to build socialist fashion on elements of the traditional costumes of the republics, thus contrasting it with Western fashion.

The outbreak of the popularity of embroidered shirts took place in the late 1950s – early 1960s, when Khrushchev was in power, who himself did not hesitate to wear an embroidered shirt. In world fashion, this trend is associated with hippie culture. Then the embroidered blouse became a symbol of freedom from the canons, from fashion trends. It was anti-fashion rather than fashion – freedom from the dictates of magazines and catwalks.

Mykyta Khrushchev

The 1970s were the most ethno-fashionable period. The main designer of the decade, Yves Saint Laurent, “traveled” with his collections to the traditional cultures of many nations. In 1976, Saint Laurent showed Haute Couture vyshyvankas. In different sources, they were called differently. All russians have positioned it as a purely russian collection, although it is likely that the embroidered blouses were inspired by Matisse’s paintings, including his painting “Romanian Blouse”. And till this day, the embroidered shirt called a “Romanian blouse”. Therefore, if we talk about national self-identification, the embroidered shirt is a very slippery ground, because it is an element that is present in many cultures. And if the Ukrainian shirt is easy to distinguish from the Mexican, it is difficult to draw the line between the traditions of neighboring nations. In Ukraine itself, each region has its own specifics, which do not add clear guidelines.

Yves Saint Laurent

I had to study for the period of perestroika and folk traditions were perceived, in particular, by fashion students as “Oh, my God!”. We were drilled to make collections based on national motives. That is, it was compulsory and all competitions were won by maternity clothes and clothes based on national motives. These were topics that added points. This obsession with “roosters and towels” has repulsed our generation’s positive perception of traditional clothing for many years. It sounded very good in one dissertation in 2015 that we need not so much to open as to rediscover and rethink our traditions, which were instilled in us from above.

Embroidered items of the Soviet period in the scientific literature have been given very different assessments since independence, but in fact, if you look now, you can see that the designers of the Republican model houses were professionals and created very harmonious things. Today, one can even envy the development of Soviet artistic modeling based on embroidered items.

The outbreak of fashion for vyshyvankas in the XXI century was associated with political events in Ukraine. For the first time since the 2004 Orange Revolution, embroidered shirts from the Jean-Paul Gauthier and Gucci collections have appeared on world catwalks. John Galliano made a “Ukrainian” collection in 2008, inspired by our traditional costumes.

John Galliano Ready-to-Wear A/W 2009

In Ukraine, on the wave of patriotism, many design options for embroideries appeared, but the demand for them did not fall, and after the Revolution of Dignity jumped – we had a “breakthrough” on a global scale called “Vyshyvanka by Vita Kin”.

Vyshyvanka by Vita Kin

In Lviv, Oksana Karavanska came up with such a direction as “Vyshyvanka Couture”, promoting it as a unique Ukrainian know-how. Roksolana Bogutska‘s vyshyvankas from Lviv can also be identified as Couture.

Vyshyvanka by Roksolana Bogutska

In 2015, at the Haute Couture fashion week in Paris (and this is still the coolest thing that can be in fashion), the Italian brand Valentino made a collection with embroideries. “Valentino embroidered shirts” flooded social networks and blogs, proving that the need for high-quality design interpretations of embroidered shirts is huge and this topic should be developed. Because of today’s terrible war, the world is not just chained to Ukraine – it is united around us by moral and material support. This is the best time in our history to show the world the beauty and grandeur, as well as the relevance of Ukrainian vyshyvanka in both traditional handicrafts and the latest digital versions.

Vyshyvanka Couture by Karavanska


Myroslav Melnyk

Look also: ГЕНІАЛЬНО: сучасні вишиванки Valentino resort 2017

Military vyshyvanka

Russians kill Ukrainian civilians

Nadya Trubchaninova

70-year-old Nadya Trubchaninova did not run away from the war when she came to the Kyiv region. The woman managed to survive, but the Russian invasion claimed the life of Nadya’s son. For more than a week, she hitchhiked daily from her village to the ruined Bucha in search of her son’s body. In the Kyiv region, as a result of Russian aggression, more than 1,000 civilians have already been killed, and bodies continue to be found.

Nadya Trubchaninova at his son’s coffin

This guy is a volunteer who helps to exhume corpses from mass graves in #Bucha. To understand the horrors of #BuchaMassacre you need to look at his face. The emotions of this young man show it…


In such difficult times for Ukraine, we ask you to support us and help stop russian aggression.


#Stopputin #stoprussianagression #stopwarinUkraine

Hidden violence in Ukraine

Hidden violence in Ukraine

A lot of people in Europe and the USA trying to silence Ukrainians speaking up about what is going on here. A lot of found it uncomfortable to see all of these pictures, they prefer to enjoy their coffee and turn their eyes blind, pretending that this is some kind of Netflix show… It is not – it is the genocide of Ukrainians in the middle of Europe in 2022. And if you simply close your eyes it will not disappear… these innocent people were killed and raped in real life- by real russians (cannot call them humans). And if you are silent about this – you supporting more of these to happen. Never again? What have you done to stop this? (c)

Russian violence in Bucha, 2022

What is love in Ukraine during the war?

Love is… to be her bulletproof vest
Love is…to look over your shoulder to see Bayraktar destroy a column of Russians
Love is… to look for the best place in a bomb shelter
Love is… making cocktails together
Love is … when every occupier killed he dedicates to you
Love is … when he gives you javelin
Love is … together watch the Russian tanks burn


Stand with Ukraine!

Yellow&Blue project from Pictoric

Poster by Olena Staranchuk

Illustrators club Pictoric launched the Yellow&Blue project in 2016 to show what a beautiful country Ukraine is. Ukrainian illustrators created incredible posters of the most beautiful places in our country, illustrations about cultural phenomena, our traditions, our customs, our food, our small family gatherings and big national holidays, our most beautiful nature reserves, and crazy buildings.

Now russia is destroying all of that: the culture we build, the cities we live in, the places we visit, and more heartbreaking – russia is killing all the brave and sincere people we love.

Ukrainians will never forgive and never forget this.

We believe in Ukraine! We believe in our victory!

We will rebuild every house and every street!

Poster by Artem Gusev

Help to stop genocide of Ukrainians and help them to defend their Freedom

Close the sky over Ukraine

Two hundred and two schools, 34 hospitals and more than 1,500 residential buildings were destroyed by Russia’s missiles and bombs in 12 days.

Thousands of innocent civilians died, including dozens of children.

The people of Ukraine call on the US Congress to close the sky over Ukraine. This measure is supported by 74% of Americans.

We are asking you to help us convince your senators and representatives to make a necessary move which will save thousands of innocent lives. 

You can send them a personal message and reach them on Twitter.

  1. To send your congressman a message
  1. go to https://democracy.io/ 
  2. enter your address
  3. select your representatives
  4. copy a subject and a draft message from below and paste it into the form
  5. enter your email address, name and phone number
  6. choose Foreign Relations, International Affairs or other appropriate topic
  7. send you message

Draft message

Subject:       US should close the sky over Ukraine 


I am writing to you in shock at the Russian armed forces’ atrocities on the Ukrainian people and our country’s weak response to them. Our country is not doing enough to save lives in Ukraine and deter the Russian government from further aggression.

Russia has initiated a war of aggression against a democratic European nation at a scale unseen since the darkest days of World War II. Ukraine is fighting fiercely to protect its independence and the democratic ideals our country was built upon. We are witnessing crimes against humanity, nuclear threats, and the unrestrained use of military forces against civilians. 

In the face of overwhelming odds, Ukrainians are effectively resisting – but the fact that they are waging this war alone is not only a matter of great national shame but also an issue of our national security. Both our allies and hostile states watch our response and are taking notes. I believe that we must support Ukraine with all means at our disposal to secure our advantage on the world stage for decades to come. 

We take great pride in our title as “leader of the democratic world,” but our current administration needs to do more for that title to have a shred of legitimacy. After our disastrous exit from Afghanistan, we cannot bear yet another mark against the credibility of our defense posture to the world.

Ukrainians ask that we “close their sky” so that Russian missiles and planes cannot target civilians – yet NATO does nothing. At the very least, we should provide them with air superiority fighters, anti-aircraft missile systems, and the training and logistics support to operate them themselves. If we don’t act now, Russia will kill thousands of Ukrainians and destroy everything that our nation claims it stands for.

Therefore, I urge you to pressure our administration to implement a no-fly zone in Ukraine. 

According to Reuters, 74% of Americans, including myself and your other constituents, support a no-fly zone in Ukraine. Every day of our hesitation kills more innocent people and weakens the deterrent power of our armed forces and political will. 

I hope that you and our administration will act fast and prevent this war from spreading even further, and know that I and many others will be viewing our upcoming actions as a voting issue. 


  1. To reach your congressmen on Twitter 
  1. Pick one of the text options below
  2. Select 1-2 images of your choice from this folder: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1V7YZjkovjvvJAoTBEpAGp4VwlRWdneXA?usp=sharing 
  3. Go to Twitter of the US congressmen from this sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1uUF6WGtFl-WBPe_oLdk4gdgFp09aPOAekBWmHdIUnC0/edit?usp=sharing 
  4. Send the text and add 1-2 pictures in the comments to the last tweet about Ukraine or the last tweet of each congressman. You can change the text a bit (without changing the essence!).

Draft tweets:

74% of Americans believe that NATO should #CloseTheSky over #Ukraine. We must provide to Ukraine at least fighter jets, anti-rocket and anti-aircraft defense so they could defend themselves! Putin will not stop until he is stopped! #NoFlyZone #ProtectUASky #StandWithUkraine

Since the beginning of the war, hundreds of Russian missiles and bombs have been fired at Ukrainian cities, killing civilians every day. Ukraine needs fighter jets, anti-rocket and anti-aircraft defense to protect their country from airstrikes. #NoFlyZone #ProtectUASky #StandWithUkraine

“Green light” for NATO countries to provide fighter jets to Ukraine is not enough. Ukraine needs anti-rocket, anti-aircraft defense AND fighter jets! Putin will not stop until he’s stopped! #NoFlyZone #ProtectUASky #StandWithUkraine

Save the world like you do in the movies! The U.S. people are not blind to your weakness! #NoFlyZone #ProtectUASky #StandWithUkraine

Be that leadership that you used to talk about! Don’t hide behind the backs of Ukrainian women and children! #NoFlyZone #ProtectUASky #StandWithUkraine

The nuclear crisis is happening in front of us. The United States cannot hide. This time the ocean will not save us.  #NoFlyZone #ProtectUASky #StandWithUkraine

Freedom is Ukrainian religion. What is yours? What religion allows you to keep silent when kids and women are killed?  #NoFlyZone #ProtectUASky #StandWithUkraine

Russian troops are bombing cities every day, killing thousands of civilians and destroying their homes. We call to #CloseTheSky or at least to provide #Ukraine with fighter jets, anti-rocket and anti-aircraft defense. Please help Ukraine! #NoFlyZone #StandWithUkraine

Since the beginning of the war, hundreds of Russian missiles and bombs have been fired at Ukrainian cities, killing civilians every day. We call to #CloseTheSky or at least to give fighter jets, anti-rocket and anti-aircraft defense to Ukraine. #NoFlyZone #ProtectUASky #StandWithUkraine

38 kids were killed, 71 wounded, 1.5 mln in the areas affected by the shelling in #Ukraine. We call to #CloseTheSky or at least to provide Ukraine with fighter jets, anti-rocket and anti-aircraft defense. Putin will not stop until he is stopped! #ProtectUASky #StandWithUkraine

More than 500 kids were born under shelling in Kyiv since the beginning of the war. They deserve to live. Will they? We need to provide fighter jets, anti-rocket and anti-aircraft defense to protect #Ukraine. #ProtectUASky #StandWithUkraine

Russia has damaged or destroyed 211 schools, 34 hospitals, more than 1,500 residential buildings. We call to #CloseTheSky or at least to provide Ukraine with fighter jets, anti-rocket and anti-aircraft defense. Putin will not stop until he is stopped! #ProtectUASky #StandWithUkraine

Please share this message with your friends, communication networks, etc.

Close the sky over Ukraine


Victor Tkachenko

Victor Tkachenko, born in 1960 in Ukrainian Kryvyi Rih, is an artist currently living in Toronto, Canada.  Working primarily with acrylic on canvas, Tkachenko displays a mastery of line and colour through purposeful brushwork. In most of Tkachenko’s works persist feelings of melancholy, mystery, and wonder.

Victor Tkachenko’s illustrations

Look also: Fashion illustrations by André Edouard Marty

Using of traditional Ukrainian costume elements for creating modern fashion collections

Olesis Hryn

Tradition is a guide and not a jailer

W. Somerset Maugham

The processes of globalization in the modern world lead to the formation of universal culture and, simultaneously, to weaken local (regional) ethnic cultures. Integration of the latter into a single space is irreversible, so effective mechanisms for their preservation are required. Popularization of national elements through fashion is one of these mechanisms.

Roksolana Bogutska

Roughly speaking, clothing exists in two main opposite forms: traditional costume and modern fashion. In traditional culture, clothing retains its original meaning, because it contains unique information that has been laid down over many generations. This initial meaning differs significantly from the meanings that modern clothing has received in the course of evolution. Additional semantic “layers” in the costume brought fashion, which took a prominent place in the European creative culture of the new time.

In traditional culture, clothing contains unique information that has been stored for many generations

Ukrainians are characterized by the predominance of emotionality over rationality, sentimentality and poetic perception of nature, which are fully reflected in the picturesqueness, patterns, rich decorative products of folk art. At the same time, Ukrainians are characterized by such contradictory features as individualism, creative resistance to others and, at the same time, fascination with artistic samples of other cultures.

The unwillingness to assimilate other people’s cultural patterns was the reason for the negative attitude to foreign fashion, ridiculing its supporters. This is clearly reflected in the plays of M. Staritsky “Not happened” (1881), “For two hares” (1883) and “In a fashionable way” (1887). They caricature characters who care too much about their outfits of fashionable styles, and all the positive characters wear national costumes. This perception of fashion prevailed in the Ukrainian countryside until the late 1960s. Most likely, the Ukrainians saw the changes in fashion as a symptom of social disorder, introduced by the rapid development of purchase and sale relations.

Marta Wachholz

However, during the years when Ukraine was part of the USSR, the shortage of beautiful clothes of its own production led to a passion for imports, which were perceived as more prestigious and fashionable, although contraband, mostly outdated or low-quality items got into the country. Thus, at the mental level, a cult of imports has been formed, which is still manifested in the fact that Ukrainians prefer goods from foreign manufacturers. This is one of the main obstacles to the full development of the domestic fashion industry.

 In terms of fashion, Ukrainians have formed a cult of imports on a mental level.

The development of national fashion is an important condition for the simultaneous modernization of the ethnic layer of culture and the preservation of its cultural identity. In modern society, fashion performs specific functions that are unique to it: it provides a monotony of cultural patterns, regulates the transition from the past to the future, supports the innovative nature of culture, and changes the prestige of artistic characteristics of objects. Thanks to all this, it can influence the perception, preservation and popularization of national traditions.

Although fashion, like art, is not nationally defined, it is impossible to fit it into the framework of a single ethnic culture, clearly highlighting national characteristics in its creations, but it can promote those elements that are perceived and evaluated by the nation as “their own”. 

Fashion can use and promote those elements that are perceived and evaluated by the nation as “their own”

Wearing national clothing shows an individual’s acceptance of national values, pride in belonging to a particular ethnic group.

The activity of reviving folk costume and including its elements in fashionable clothing has always been and remains a means of expressing patriotic feelings, one of the levers of the development of national identity. Therefore, one of the most relevant fashion trends is ethnic.

When creating ethno-collections, most often there is a formal borrowing of samples of traditional costume without its deep understanding. In modern design, there are practically no dynamic design methods aimed at solving the problem of cultural imbalance between traditions and innovations. The novelty of this approach includes an art criticism analysis of traditional costume and modern fashion, their understanding in the context of the synthesis of traditional and modern layers of culture.

Marta Wachholz

When interpreting folk costume by fashion design, traditional sources should be considered as a combination of utilitarian, semiotic and aesthetic functions, formal (constructive), material and technological qualities. For all these areas, the costume should be adapted to fashion trends, taking into account recent technological innovations. At the same time, elements of traditional culture act as meaning, while modern fashion is only a form that corresponds to such short – term characteristics as seasonal trends, bestsellers, and must haves.

Modern fashion is just a creative medium that contains seasonal landmarks: trends, bestsellers, and must have

The measure of proximity of a modern suit to the traditional source is chosen by the designer himself. However, fashionable clothing made in an ethnic style should never turn into a copy of a folk costume. The more subtle and delicate the association with the source of creativity, the more harmonious the result looks.

  The main elements for the development of fashion clothing based on traditional ones are the principles of shaping, materials, and sewing technologies, finishing methods, semiotics and the manner of using things.


If in Soviet times, the state-approved fashion approved of externally decorative folklorism, at the present stage, the tradition, passing through the filter of the artist’s individual consciousness and adapting to the requirements of the time, turns into a new artistic quality that embodies the modern understanding of expediency and beauty. This is the principle used by many Ukrainian designers. They enrich world fashion trends with the use of national traditional components (a combination of colors, materials, ornamentation, proportions, compositional techniques, ways to combine costume elements).

 Tradition, passing through the filter of the artist’s individual consciousness and adapting to the requirements of the time, turns into a new understanding of expediency and beauty

Traditional embroidery, merezhka, sewing, weaving, painting add artistic expressiveness, originality, and handiwork to fashion collections. Such preservation of connection with traditions can become the basis for standing out in the global world fashion, forming and promoting the Ukrainian style.

Karavay ss 2015


Ukrainian fashion

Sereda s/s 2020

Ukrainian fashion fashion consists of collections, events and places that represent the work of Ukrainian designers and brands.
In Ukraine, the fashion industry during the twentieth century has not been formed. This is caused by many factors. Soviet ideologists considered fashion a negative manifestation of capitalism — waste and a means of distinguishing between the poor and the rich. And even though there was a wealthier upper class in the USSR, fashion was not officially recognized – there was light industry.

Ukrainian fashion week

Production and consumption of light industry goods were regulated and planned centrally, and by the time things reached the shelves of stores, they were already out of fashion. However, the need to create fashionable looks was so strong that Western trends, although with considerable delay and simplification, penetrated into the Soviet Ukrainians everyday life in a variety of ways: clothing was sewn in an artisanal way on an individual order in homes or at home seamstresses, brought from foreign trips or bought from speculators.

Only in the second half of the twentieth century began to work large domestic model houses in Kyiv, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odesa, and Dnipro. But these state-owned enterprises have not distinguished themselves by world recognition, creating global trends, or providing the country’s population with high-quality fashion clothing. The most famous Ukrainian designer of the 1980s and 1990s was Mikhail Voronin, who invented the vest-layout method of sewing classic suits.

New impetus for the development of domestic fashion gained after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Declaration of independence of Ukraine. During the transition of the economy to market conditions, private ateliers and fashion houses appeared.

In 1997 Ukrainian fashion week was founded, numerous festivals, exhibitions were held, and fashion magazines were published.

Kyiv, Lviv, and Odesa can be considered as a kind of “fashion centers” in Ukraine. Ukrainian Fashion Week and Kyiv Fashion Days, exhibitions and fashion festivals are held in the capital of Ukraine.


Lviv Fashion Week is almost a monopoly among significant fashion events in Western Ukraine, and in Odessa fashion competition is fierce: Odessa Fashion Days, Odessa Fashion Week, Odessa Holiday Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Odessa Fashion Days are events of a similar format, between which the collections of several Odessa designers run.

Among the most popular Ukrainian designers are Vita kin, Andre Tan, Anton Belinskiy, Ksenia Schnaider, Yulia Efimchuk, Lilya Pustovit, Roksolana Bogutska, Martha Wachholz, Oksana Karavanska.

Oksana Karavanska

However, Ukrainian fashion products have not become competitive even in the domestic market.

The specificity of domestic designer clothing is determined primarily by semi-industrial conditions of its production, which leads to high labor intensity, non-circulation and, as a result, high cost and inflated prices. This offer of designers is in demand by a small number of customers, so Ukrainian fashion can not be considered a full-fledged fashion industry. At the same time, domestic garment factories that have sufficient capacity for mass production do not pay enough attention to product design. They either offer non-prestigious products that are difficult to call fashionable or work to fulfill tolling orders of foreign brands.

Lviv Fashion Week

The Ukrainian fashion market is still dominated by powerful global fashion brands and foreign manufacturers of inexpensive mass fashion.
The main opportunity to compete in the modern fashion market is a full-fledged systematic development of design, production, promotion, and trade, taking into account not only macro-and micro-economic factors but also the laws of fashion and culture in General. The leading role in this process is played by the ability of the Manager and marketer: the ability to attract the necessary amount of investment and ensure their high economic efficiency.

Text from: Мельник М. Т. Мода: від авангарду до япстерів / Мирослав Мельник — К.: MODOSLAV, 2018. — 190 с. (In Ukrainian).

Martha Wachholz

Look also: Flashback: Christian Lacroix Couture осінь-зима 2004/2005