Архів теґу: ukrainian fashion


Sots-art in fashion, collage by Myroslav Melnyk

Melnyk Myroslav, PhD in Art Theory and History,

Orcid ID: 0000-0002-0494-9403

Since Sots Art was built on irony over the values and symbols of the USSR, it would be logical that after the collapse of the empire this art direction lost its relevance. But after 1991 the ideas and aesthetics of Sots Art came into fashion several times: costume exhibitions have been held in art museums, fashion collections have appeared on catwalks and in media. A new generation of designers and recipients of their creativity has updated in a new way USSR signs and symbols.  From the 1920s to the 1980s these symbols were an ideological weapon, an instrument of social and aesthetic pressure, designed to further strengthen the Soviet system, and since the late 1980s have turned into kitsch – ridiculing outdated ideological myth, irony over false reality, history, and culture of lies.

Sergey Borisov’s photo, 1987

The first wave of Sots Art came into fashion during the “Perestroika” period (1985 – 1991).  Then, in the wake of the debunking of dogmas and cults, Sots Art expressed a desire to change the country for the better, freeing it from the ubiquitous false ideology, debunking the “sanctity” of its symbols. The desecration of everything Soviet – something that should have been treated with piety – was a sign of dismissal, a demonstration of long-awaited freedom. Avant-garde artists laughed, sewing clothes from the red flags and banners, drawing and embroidering hackneyed slogans and quotes, using the iconic attributes of Soviet life as accessories.  Since already in 1988 laws gave the right to engage in entrepreneurship, numerous new cooperatives carried these ideas to the masses: T-shirts with inscriptions and images in the Sots Art stylistic were replicated.

Hungarian designet Tamás Király with model, 1986

With the collapse of the USSR and the declaration of independence by its former republics, everything “Soviet” had negative connotations. The fashion of the 1990s celebrated crises and the fashion of the 2000s – glamour.

The first designer who, working in line with Sots Art, become popular in Russia, and achieved international success was Denis Simachev. The designer decorated his creations with Soviet coats of arms, folk ornaments, matryoshka dolls, and prints made of Soviet money. He mixed the former Soviet and modern Russian, ridiculed symbols and stereotypes that Russians are not proud of, made fun of the recent past, which was hated, and thanks to irony, made it “cool”. It is interesting that such creativity based on stereotypes resonated with Russian and foreign mass consumers, and Simachev’s works were forged and replicated actively.

Sots Art by Denis Simachev

In the 2010s, public sentiment in post-Soviet countries changed and, against the background of disappointments from instability and economic problems of the first years of independence, nostalgia for the USSR emerged. This nostalgia was strongly stimulated by Russian propaganda with its numerous retranslations of iconic Soviet films, products “from the childhood” advertisements, TV series about former heroes, etc. The older generation was nostalgic for the times “when we were young”, young people romantically perceived the culture, the negative aspects of which they did not feel on themselves.

In the 2010s, thanks to a new look at the aesthetics of Sots Art, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Demna Gvasalia, Yulia Efimchuk, and other designers from the post-Soviet space received worldwide recognition. With their works, they reinterpreted the codes, as nostalgic and at the same time warning against the return of utopian ideas, pointing to current socio-cultural problems.

Gosha Rubchinsky

In 2008, Gosha Rubchinsky made his debut with the collection  “Empire of evil”, which included T-shirts with two-headed eagles, as well as bears with weapons and other symbols associated with aggressive Russian international politics. The next designer’s shows also played with the aesthetics of late Soviet fashion and the symbols of the USSR. Oddly enough, this approach has been very successful at the international level. Rubchinsky launched the trend and other young designers wanted to repeat his success story.

Yulia Efimchuk started her career with competitions for young designers, and since 2012, the shows of the brand “Yulia Yefimtchuk+” have been held at the famous Kyiv Fashion Days. Yefimchuk’s collections have always been dominated by pure shapes and unambiguous colors like white, black, and a rich shade of red. Sots Art in her collections is added with the inscriptions on the clothes that resemble posters about labor exploits: “Labor”, “Peace to the world” and “Every day it becomes more joyful to live”. Despite the decommunization policy in Ukraine, in her spring-summer 2017 collection designer even used the words “Communism” and “Socialism”.  That, as well as the cut and colors (white, scarlet, dark blue), refer to the images of Soviet posters, to which the designer appealed.

Yulia Yefimtchuk+

Demna Gvasalia created the Parisian brand Vetements in 2014. Elements of Sots Art in his work indicated his origin from the Georgian Soviet republic, which added a certain exoticism in the eyes of European consumers. Thanks to Gvasalia’s worldwide success, international fashion columnists have drawn attention to the phenomenon of “Georgian fashion”. 

The listed designers are called “the new generation in the New East”, and their fashion collections are considered as the most earnest and most relevant way to speak about the past.

“Komar & Melamid” at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art
“Komar & Melamid” at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art

But fashion is only part of a larger cultural trend. 2019 was the peak year for the actualization of the Sots Art in the Post-Soviet space. The exhibition “Komar & Melamid”, dedicated to the founders of Sots Art, was held at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. The project was their first retrospective in Russia and included works created by the artists after their association in a creative duo. The exhibition in its genre resembled a collection of quotations-works and documents extracted from the key and most famous projects of artists. The character of Komar & Melamid appeared in the art to destroy the monopoly of socialist realism in the USSR, to discredit modernism in the Western world, and to outline the contours of a new international style, the distinctive feature of which would be aesthetic and philosophical eclecticism, on the ruins of both branches of the art of the twentieth century. The demonstration of this program became the core of the exhibition concept.

The Estonian Museum of Modern Art KUMU hosted the exhibition “Sots Art and Fashion” in 2019. Yulia Efimchuk from Ukraine, Marit Ilison from Estonia, Sonja Litichevskaya from Germany, Nina Neretina, and Donis Pouppis from Russia have presented fashion collections in which the socialist past of their countries has been turned into a source of inspiration and demonstrates the coping of the Eastern European culture with its  Soviet past.

“Sots Art and Fashion” in KUMU

In the Odessa museum of modern art, the avant-garde fashion of the 1990s “Perekroika” exhibition was held in 2019. The exhibition included samples of clothes and accessories from 1988 – 1998, created by designers from Odessa.  There were dresses made from Soviet tapestries, flags, and other artifacts in the style of Sots Art.

Studying and understanding of Sots Art objects, stunning of its specifics and its perception, defining its new connotations is particularly relevant and interesting in the light of decommunization, understanding the “undesirable past” and searching for options of positioning Ukrainian culture in the global world.

Read Also: Подорож азійським мистецтвом з колекцією Junya Watanabe весна-літо 2022

Fashion Week is dying

From Ukrainian Fashion Week

Fashion Week is dying. This is a global trend that is also evident in Ukraine: in 2018, Kiev Fashion Days disappeared, and the scale of Ukrainian Fashion Week is decreasing every year. We’re keeping up with the world.

The concept of “Fashion Week” is relatively simple: designers present collections nine months before the season. Buyers buy their favorite collections and sell them in stores, and journalists describe what they saw “in all its glory” – so that consumers who are hungry for new products lick their lips, rush to stores and buy, buy, buy. Nine months is a well-established time limit for replicating collections and logistics. But this was the case in the “old world” – before the internet era.

In Ukraine, Fashion Week began in 1997 as an event that gathers fashionistas at one time and in one place, providing designers with an auditorium, lighting, sound and security. There were few designers, even fewer buyers and fashion journalists, but there was a buyer-rich after the Bandit nineties, exhausted by the Soviet deficit, without any special claims to taste and style – someone who wanted “designer” and was hungry for consumer patriotism.

Sergei Byzou FW 2000 at Ukrainian Fashion Week

The layer of buyers in Ukraine was almost superfluous – things were easily given away from the catwalk, for an additional payment, the designers even promised not to sew such a thing to anyone else.

Without buyers and mass replication, the fashion age gradually turned into a bloated and outdated Vanity Fair – a parade of narcissism that developed outside the industry. Since 1998, we have been talking about the “Ukrainian fashion industry” as “in the process of formation”. It’s still there.

The industry is not growing, but the “parade of narcissism” is also on the decline – the “Old guests of the show” have aged and look tragic and pathetic.

If everything is so sad, then is it necessary that the Fashion Week in Ukraine continues to exist? For whom (what) is it now? Does organizing Fashion Week match the way people buy clothes today?

It is not difficult to imagine that outside of shows and fashion glosses, there is a different, more real and more relevant world. The internet has changed the perception of not only fashion, but also society, changed self-perception.

DZHUS at Ukrainian Fashion Week

The fashion system of seasons and full seasonal collections is a serious financial burden for the designer. In addition to production costs (on average, you need to submit 35 looks), you need to pay for participation in the fashion week (and this is tens of thousands), as well as the work of models, stylists, makeup artists, photographers.In return, you get to content, which freshness and relevance fall hourly – photos and videos, some coverage in the press (which in Ukraine, for the most part, promotes only “their own”).

This whole system can be circumvented by investing money gradually and directly, periodically creating information guides around individual goods (looks). You don’t need to be present at Fashion Week – you pay for articles in Targeted Media, attract suitable opinion leaders, come up with promotions, collaborate with artists, and so on. In Ukraine, there are many examples of brands that entered the international market without showing any collection at Ukrainian Fashion Week (the most famous Vita Kin). Many “permanent and unchanging” participants miss seasons, or even completely leave the game (Podolyan, Gres, Zalevsky, Anisimov and not only them).

Of course, for” Dreamers in Rose-Colored Glasses”, Fashion Week is still an “Event”. Young designers dream of participating, hoping that after that “Grits from the sky” will fall on them. “Fashionistas” still take selfies against the background of banners, considering themselves cool. But does Fashion Week succeed in its main function – moving money from the pockets of customers to the wallets of designers?

Ksenia Schneider at Ukrainian Fashion Week

In recent years, not so much designers (manufacturers of a fashion product) as Ukrainian Fashion Week (an intermediary between the manufacturer and the buyer) receive taxpayer support in the form of State injections. Can this be considered as an investment in the development of the industry? To answer this question, you need to know when large amounts of taxes will return to the state budget of Ukraine from the additional increase in the profits of the supported organization (return on investment).

Have you ever heard that spending public money in Ukraine is treated as an investment?

As for consumers, two global trends also prevent them from spending money on rags. The first “Bees vs honey” is ecological fashion. Most of the expositions of the latest Ukrainian Fashion Week are some kind of upzycling, recycling and “other second – hand”. For me, this is an assumption that re-stitching garbage reduces the overall blockage. The logic is there: instead of throwing out the trash right away, you will play with it and these amusements will save you from buying new junk. It’s fashionable, but it’s anti-fashion, the “death of fashion” as a constant update.

From Ukrainian Fashion Week



51 shows, 7 presentations and 2 lecture platforms will illustrate the state of Ukrainian fashion at the begining of 2018.

Ukrainian fashion want to become global. Step by step Ukraine tries to develop national fashion industry, which will be an important component of European culture and economy.


Ukrainian Fashion Week will present collections by Larisa Lobanova, Ksenia Schnaider, Polina Veller, Kir-Khartley and other talented Ukrainian designers.

Larisa Lobanova

The 7-th of february will be the New Generation Day on Ukrainian Fashion Week. Among New Names: 2LFactura, Kristina_Аs, GA.EVA.


Read also:

Ad campaign of Lviv Fashion Week SS 2014

Vyshyvanka by Chernikova at Lviv Fashion Week fw 2016/2017

The new collection by Lubtsia Chernikova was shown march 25 at Lviv Fashion Week fw 2016/2017.Collection entitled “Today”, because today is a moment between the past and the future, it’s what happens now: we get up in the morning and go to bed at night, between this we try to achieve our goals and become happy. Today is a time to act.
The main motives of the Chernikova’s collection are two most popular types of Ukrainian embroidery – Poltava and Borshchiv vyshyvanka, which are unique folk artifacts, well known abroad. This season the designer tried to interpret and revive this traditions in its collection, using homespun hemp and linen, suede, velvet, silk, cotton, wool, fur decorated with natural cotton lace and velvet ribbon.


Read also:

Найкраща колекція LVIV FASHION WEEK FW 2016/2017

Sincerely yours

Myroslav Melnyk )


“A Little Chaos” – NAVRO ss 2016 collection

The collection “A Little Chaos” by Ukrainian designer Olga Navrotska was inspired by the novels of Jane Austen, the gardens of the Louvre, and a 2014 British period drama film directed by Alan Rickman.

The first working title of the collection was “The pride and prejudice”, and therefore the dresses and suits vere named like female characters of the novel. Elizabeth, Jane, Georgiana …

“Pride and Prejudice” (1995)

Navro ss 2016

Navro ss 2016

Navro ss 2016

Last summer designer visited the gardens of the Louvre and it added her an inspiration. Later came the film “A Little Chaos” with Kate Winslet, which talked about the first architect woman, who has made “a little chaos” in rigor and the order of the Louvre gardens. Designer realized it was the perfect name for the collection, which has a 70th, 90th, velvet, flowers, willow, bird, winged unicorns and the sun with the months.

Removing the Navro’s campaign,  Olga Navrotska wanted to add a bit of provocation in the romantic mood of the collection and acted out the story of  Jack London “Little Lady of the Big House”.  In general, NAVRO ss 2016 is a fantasy, designer’s associative array, which arose under different circumstances and inspired by classical literature and women’s histories.

I think, it’s very trendy of the spring-summer 2016, because the same romantism we can find in the Alexander McQeen’s and Gucci’s collections:

Read also:

«Мессиджі у вічність» від Ольги Навроцької

Sincerely yours,

Myroslav Melnyk )


Yana Chervinska ss 2016

“In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower”

In the ss 2016 season, Ukrainian designer Yana Chervinska was inspired by the novel of Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time”. The heroine of the new season is sweet melancholic girl-flower, which understands that fades and loses its petals. It is nostalgic for her youth and sadness – in the clothes she combines her favorite girly flounces, ruffles, bows, floral appliques and bright colors, but are replaced by meaningless black and white prints in the form of individual young girls.

The collection is based on a contradiction: the images are sent to both the youth and adult perky elegance, soft knitwear brand bordered with denim, cheerful colors and bows – a dramatic and even more aggressive prints by Alina Zamanova.

The international level of Odessa Fashion Week


The Odessa Fashion Week was held this weekend in Odessa for the first time.

First step is always the most exciting and the most thrilling – it’s the reference point for the future. Odessa Fashion Week raised the bar very high and immediately become one of the best fashion events not only in Odessa, but also in Ukraine. Spacious hall (Vera Kholodnaya art-center), Illuminated catwalk, 3-D lighting effects – everything was amazing, everything helped the designer to create his own cpecial atmosphere.



 Among the Odessa Fashion Week designers was the guru of Ukrainian Fashion OKSANA KARAVANSKA, legendary costume artist RUSLAN KHVASTOV and genious Tajikistan designer KHURSHED SATTOROV. 




Read more about The Odessa Fashion Week at modoslav.blogspot.com soon ))

Sincerely yours,

Myroslav Melnyk )

Fashion Art at GogolFest in Kiev

Project FASHION-ART at the festival GOGOLFEST in 2015 present exhibition of thirty Ukrainian designers that offer a new perspective on fashion. In their works ashion becomes the object of study transformations of human consciousness in the modern world


Project participants:

Bob Basset, Серж Смолін (IDoL), Роман Медний, Вячеслав Крыжановский, Ольга Стельмахова(OSTEL), Эдие Каримова, Katarina Ivanenko, Франсуаза Оз & Богдан Перевертун, Liza Volosovskaya, Аnna Zagorodnichok, Марина Рибалко, Andrew Siguntsov, Mykhailo Deyak, Поліна Чоні,Ganna Bogdan, Ірина Бейлі, Руслан Панчук, Polina Veller, Яна Червінська, Dakh Daughters, Іван Фролов, Bogdan Kass.

My favorite is Maryna Rybalko


Read also:

Відкриття: Henrik Vibskov

Sincerely yours,

Myroslav Melnyk )

From Kiev with fashion

The original article on Russian was published at MOONSTORE.it

Украина и мода или зачем нам свой фешн


March 18, the fashion marathon gets to Ukraine. Despite all the problems and woes in the country, Ukrainian Fashion Week evolving with each new season. You may be skeptical about the Ukrainian fashion and it is easy to prove that the fashion is not industry in our country, we will never catch up with neither Paris nor China. But the planet twists by optimists and every “no” has it’s “yes”. 

The most powerful argument in favor of the Ukrainian fashion led me to a museum caretaker about ten years ago: “Ukrainian girl was born with a needle in her hand.” And it’s true, Ukrainian woman sewed always – girl makes her dowry, the bride gave the groom embroidered shirt, embroidered by mother shirt guarded the son, a grandmother passed tricks of the trade to her granddaughter. That is why our traditional costume is so filled with positive energy of love and harmony.

“All these shirts are for the village celebrations – it’s not a fashion!” – Say the skeptics. I agree that our culture is rooted in the Ukrainian village. I’m proud of it, because in the villages there are more sincerity, more love for man and nature, more respect for the old values ​​and traditions. Yes, the “village” in Soviet times was called all the old-fashioned, but that times has changed. The XXI century has brought a lot of nonsense in the cities, so the “village” has becoming increasingly cool.

Ukrainian girl was born with a needle in her hand

And about the “fashionable – not fashionable” you can argue for a long. It seemed we just tired with embroidered shirts and then hello again – hello from Valentino Couture spring-summer 2015 show. Beautiful, trendy, expensive embroidered shirts – cool.

Cool and the fact that in 1997 Ukrainian Fashion Week was the first prêt-à-porter Fashion Week in Eastern Europe with format, consistent to international standards and the schedule, inscribed in the world’s fashion schedule.

Cool, that during 18 years our Fashion Week has evolved in many directions: there were interesting inter-seasonal projects, the number of designers participating, cultural program becomes more saturated each season – exhibitions, installations, performances, music videos and movies. And all this at the intersection of art and fashion, the ukrainian fashion.

During 18 years our Fashion Week has evolved in many directions

Cool, that besides the Ukrainian Fashion Week, Ukrainian Fashion develops on the international and regional levels. Our Daria Shapovalova in 2014 entered the list of 500 most influential people in the fashion world, and our Anton Belinsky in 2015 was among the 26 finalists of the LVMH prize. A range of international competitions and exhibitions, boutiques and showrooms, which are attended by Ukrainian designers, expanding with each season.

All of these achievements are even more valuable on the background of the political and economic development of Ukraine – all our fashion based only on the talent and enthusiasm of the people, “bitten by the fashion”. This definition I have borrowed from Andre Tan – the most popular Ukrainian designer.

“Bitten by the fashion” we fanatically do things we love and we do not care about all the difficulties and circumstances. Of course, we do not live in the pink lenses and understand that in the foreseeable future, Ukrainian fashion will be not comparable to the French or Italian, but we are developing and we look in the future with hope.

Sincerely Your’s,

Myroslav Melnyk )



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