On the last day of London Fashion Week, the British Fashion Council hosted a special catwalk showcase with Ukrainian Fashion Week, giving designers Kseniaschnaider, Paskal, and Frolov the opportunity to showcase their autumn/winter 2023 collections.
The three Ukrainian guest designers held a joint show in London, as what would have been the 50th edition of Ukrainian Fashion Week has been cancelled due to the ongoing Russian invasion.
As the show was about the start, an audio message told attendees the collections were designed and produced under air raid sirens and that the collections were “symbolic of the resilience and courage of Ukraine and its people”.
After each designer showcased their AW23 collections, Ksenia Schnaider, Julie Paskal and Ivan Frolov came together to walk the catwalk bearing the Ukrainian Flag with the United24 logo, the official fundraising platform launched by Ukrainian president Zelensky to support Ukraine.
Kyiv-based Kseniaschnaider, founded in 2011 by married couple Ksenia Schnaider and Anton Schnaider, opened the showcase with a collection made of sustainable and deadstock materials that celebrated “joy and positivity” despite the challenging circumstances in which it was made.
The reality of the ongoing war, which this week marks one year since Russia invaded Ukraine, was particularly highlighted by the use of dead stock ties, an item of clothing no longer needed by men in Ukraine as they are wearing military uniforms instead.
“The pieces are meant to transport the wearer to a place of happiness and joy, even if only for a moment,” explained Kseniaschnaider on its social media.
Paskal, founded by Julia Paskal in 2013, returned to the catwalk for the first time in three years with her ‘Out of Cocoon’ collection filled with fluttering butterflies adorning voluminous tops, mini-dresses, and skirts.
“One look at butterfly wings can change everything,” explains Paskal in the show notes, as she uses the delicate insect as a metaphor for the beauty and fragility of life.
Couture-to-wear brand Frolov, founded in 2015 by Ivan Frolov, was the final brand to show with his ‘Song to Song’ collection inspired by Ukrainian folk songs and the human heart, which is the anatomical symbol of his brand.
The love heart was weaved throughout the collection, as seductive cut-outs on dresses, as Swarovski embellishments, and carried by the models as heart-shaped bags.
On his Instagram, Frolov said: “This fashion show on the London Fashion Week runway is our manifestation of will. This is the fulfilment of our strength and resilience. This is a reflection of the courage of all Ukrainians. To create in spite of everything. Despite working in the most unstable and difficult conditions, under the sounds of air sirens. Together with our teams, we continue to work on the collections.
“We know that all of this is for the sake of our common peaceful future. For the sake of inviting all of you next season to our show in liberated and free Ukraine. We will never destroy, but we will always create."
The Ukrainian Fashion Week showcase was made possible due to the support of USAID Competitive Economy Programme in Ukraine.