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From London Fashion Week, Ukrainian designers send out a defiant message


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Designers from Ukraine sent a defiant message during London Fashion Week on Tuesday by wearing neckties that their men no longer wear and using butterfly motifs to represent the “fragility of life” in their clothing.

Despite frequent interruptions from missile attacks and air raid sirens, the three collections by fashion labels Kseniaschnaider, Paskal, and Frolov was put together in Ukraine.

Ksenia Schnaider, one-half of the husband and wife team behind the Kseniaschnaider label, said, “I think it’s really important not to stop.

Since deciding to continue her career in fashion despite the conflict, the designer has been traveling back and forth between Ukraine and her new base in the UK, where her daughter is enrolled in school.

Schnaider feared she might “never be able to create again” after being forced to leave Kyiv last March.
But after visiting Hungary, Germany, and finally Britain, she came to the conclusion that she must go on for the benefit of her team and herself.

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She told AFP backstage, “You can’t stop even if reality is horrible; you should keep doing what you do best, still be creative, and try to bring beauty to this world of tragedy.

There are many new implications to this; it’s not just about being a fashion designer anymore; I also need to preserve my traditions and culture.

The Autumn Winter 2023 collection from Kseniaschnaider included a lot of the brand’s signature denim as well as blazers and skirts made from extra neckties now that Ukrainian men are wearing military fatigues instead of them.

She said, “It’s really significant because Ukrainian men don’t need ties right now because they are fighting.

You cannot simply sit and sob.

The three labels’ four designers, according to Julie Paskal, had debated whether it was appropriate to continue their work in the industry while the conflict sparked by Russian President Vladimir Putin rages on.

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She nonetheless believed they had made the right choice and expressed her “unbounded gratitude” to London Fashion Week for accommodating them while their own yearly event in Kyiv was relocated.

The “fragility of life and death,” according to Paskal, served as inspiration for her laser-cut appliqued “butterfly” works.

Dark times had come to our nation as a result of the war, but “this is a balance we need to have,” the designer, who now calls Germany home but frequently visits Ukraine to maintain her business, added.

You can’t just sit and cry, you need to move, to do whatever you can, she said, so for all of us it was a kind of will to move forward.

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Designer Ivan Frolov, who was initially influenced by drag and transgender culture, drew inspiration from Ukraine’s “cultural heritage” for his designs by using corset dresses embroidered with Swarovski crystals and hand-knit sweaters bearing the Ukrainian wheat ear fertility symbol.

On the same day that Putin accused “Western elites” of igniting and escalating the conflict, the fashion extravaganza took place.

“Creating collections is our resistance to war… and a reflection of the courage of all Ukrainians,” Ukrainian Fashion Week stated in a statement.

Later on Tuesday, London Fashion Week will be over.

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