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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Ukrainian fashion industry’s cry for help

By Iris Edén Santiago

Special to The Star

The strong and vibrant fashion community in Ukraine has changed shootings for meetings, catwalks for talks, shows for posts. They want to be heard. Through heartfelt messages posted all over social media, designers, models, photographers and fashion insiders implore the support of their international fashion colleagues.

“We are Ukrainian Fashion Week and on these dark days we ask you for your urgent support and loud voice,” reads a post on Instagram’s (IG) Ukrainian Fashion Week page. “Fashion has always been the biggest, loudest platform to stand for human rights and democratic values. It stands for inclusivity, diversity and freedom of expression. We believe that your voice can make a difference and will help the whole creative world to pay attention to the situation in Ukraine.”

Fresh from their 25th Anniversary of Ukrainian Fashion Week held in early February, directors, organizers, models, stylists and other members of this booming industry are speaking up. They are writing letters, contacting international colleagues, clients and partners, and posting heartbreaking texts about war victims and isolated cities. They are sharing photos and reels of the desperate situation unfolding before their eyes. And writing guidelines and ways you can help their country through this horrifying aggression.

“In the year of our 25 Anniversary, instead of celebrating we are sitting in the bomb shelters, instead of helping young designers, we are helping our soldiers … Ukrainian Fashion Week appeals to all partner communities. We ask you to unite for the sake of our state and our mutual peace.”

The fashion world responds

Luxury brands have demonstrated their support for Ukraine in different ways. Chanel announced they made a donation of 2 million euros to two relief organizations for refugee support at the borders and specifically for the care of children and families. Chanel will also provide mechanisms for employee financial contributions, where possible, to which the company will also contribute. The French luxury conglomerate LVMH Group made a donation of 5 million euros to the International Committee of the Red Cross for the victims of the attack on Ukraine.

Balenciaga made a donation to the World Food Programme, while clearing its online platforms to exclusively dedicate content to channels sharing reports on the war. Georgio Armani showed his support by holding his Milan Fashion Week presentation in silence, “as a sign of respect towards the people involved in the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine “

Kering, which includes Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent, posted the colors of Ukraine on its social media and added that the company was contributing to humanitarian efforts to bring aid and support to Ukrainian refugees. Also, that they would make a “significant donation.” Gucci donated $500,000.

Other designers and brands that have stopped sales and distribution in Russia while making sizable donations to Ukraine include H&M, Nike, Hèrmes, Mango, Swatch Group, Nanushka, Gianni, Boohoo, Puma, Marni, Viktor & Rolf, and Burberry.

Ukrainian Fashion Week also calls for people who know and love their brands to keep supporting them.

“Look for things by Ukrainian designers on international online platforms, designers websites and department stores. This is not just financial support for the Ukrainian creative industry. This is a sign that you are with us. And against unreasonable war in Ukraine.”

Founded in 1997, the Ukrainian Fashion Week (UFW) is the oldest Fashion Week in Central Europe. On this page the STAR shares photos of Fall/Winter 22-23 Ukrainian collections posted by UFW on IG. These collections were presented this year from Feb. 3 to Feb. 6.

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