I have a very long list tucked away on my desktop Stickies where I copy and paste the names of new brands I need to look into further, shop from or ensure that we profile on Who What Wear UK. Recently, that list has been stacking up with labels from a particular part of the world, and with our month's focus on global style, it seemed appropriate to shine a light. It would appear that some very exciting fashion happenings are coming out of Ukraine right now.
"It's been an incredible growth—the creativity in the region is booming," Daria Shapovalova, the Ukranian fashion entrepreneur and street style favourite, tells me. "When I co-founded Kiev Fashion Week, the entire fashion industry in Ukraine was being established, and after seven years, we have a fashion market full of bright, young talents. It's always amazing to select designers to represent in our showroom in Paris, More Dash, where we work with stores from more than 20 countries, such as Lane Crawford, Barneys and MatchesFashion.com."
Daria Shapovalova wearing a beautiful dress from Kiev-based designer Anton Belinskiy.
What is it about these burgeoning talents that are hitting the spot? Many of the wider region's most famous designers have been at the core of an agenda-setting streetwear scene (think Gosha Rubchinskiy from Russia or Georgian-born Demna Gvasalia of Vetements), but that isn't the only aesthetic leading the charge. "I am sure the world loves Ukrainian and Eastern European designers because they know how to use colour, how to create sleek clothes and make a unique product that stands out. In the end, the product is what is the most important," says Daria.
Through my research (and some of Daria's hot tips), I've pulled together a list of Ukranian fashion brands you need to get acquainted with. See and shop them below.
Lake Studio, created by Anastasia Riabokon and Olesya Kononova, is a haven for silky slips, pyjama suits, robes and more. These soft, delicate and luxe pieces are available in the UK via Moda Operandi.
This brand, launched by architect Julie Paskal in 2016, has become known for its super-flirty detailing: appliqué florals, big bows, statement sleeves and intricate lace fabrics.
Anna October's eponymous line is well known for its off-the-shoulder dresses (they sell out fast on MatchesFashion.com each season), but there's also a great selection of tailoring from the designer too—including this skirt and many fitted blazers.
Flow is my favourite new discovery. Designed by two sisters named Veronika and Viktoriia, this Belgian-Ukranian label is full of extra-delicate pieces like swish-around holiday dresses, bodice tops, full skirts and ditsy floral blouses. It's already been wholeheartedly adopted by the influencer set.
Chakshyn, which is sitting within the streetwear realm, is designed by Dima Chayun and Anton Yakshyn. The two are known for their slogan sweatshirts and experimental trench coats. We're also noticing a Ukranian microtrend for reconstructed denim.
There's a reason this is called the Rihanna dress: Rihanna wore it once, and people went mad for it. Marianna has been called out as one of the most exciting talents to come out of the region, and her flirty designs are definitely #OOTD-friendly. Think ditsy prints, sweet colours and eye-catching details.
Another label that has been seen a great deal over social media is Ksenia. It first hit the scene with its unusual demi-jeans (the ones that look like a mixture of straight-leg jeans and ripped shorts). Her offering provides much more, however, such as this jacket made out of seven denim jackets. Clever.
The revival of traditional Ukranian embroidery and the country's native full-sleeved blouses and dresses can be credited to this brand. It kick-started a very luxurious new trend (each of these pieces takes a painstakingly long time to produce and the price reflects that), which many have now copied.
If fun patterns are your jam, then Poustovit is the Ukranian fashion brand to know. We're talking wearable shapes in unusual colours and loud prints that are perfect for summer.
There are few new accessories brands coming from this part of the world at the moment (but do reach out to us on Instagram if you have anything to alert us to), but I've discovered the wallet-friendly handmade shoes of Kachorovska. Needless to say, I'm intrigued.
Sleeper is creating sleepwear, loungewear and holiday pieces that you can easily wear by day and outside of your house. It's also become rather popular on Instagram. We're into its loose-fit summer dresses, but this gingham two-piece also looks like it could fit into our wardrobes nicely.
Now, take a trip around the world to see what's trending elsewhere.