Ukrainian Fashion Alliance arrives at NYFW – WWD
Like many Americans, designer Jen Sidary knew very little about Ukraine.
“It’s one of those countries that we hear very little about and a lot of people think it’s dangerous,” she said of her previous thoughts on the Eastern European country. .
But last year during the pandemic, one of Sidary’s best friends, Dominique Piotet, invited her to Kiev, where her journey with the country and its creatives began.
“My friends and family thought I was crazy and were very worried that I was going,” she said bluntly. “It turned out to be the best decision I have ever made and took my life on a whole new path. “
At a dinner for Piotet, Sidary met Nataliya Mykolska, who, according to the designer, “has always been a great supporter of Ukrainian fashion brands”. From there, she teamed up with Ulyana Khromyak, and the duo introduced Sidary to a host of Ukrainian designers through their showrooms, factories, and attending industry events.
“After spending three decades in the fashion industry and traveling abroad for half that time, I have never known how many talent there is in this country,” Sindary explained. “It was like a well-kept secret that had to be presented to the world.”
From there, the group formed a Ukrainian non-governmental organization called Uyava, and Sidary began to consult Ukrainian brand 91 Lab. WWith the help of 91 Lab, the group worked on the creation of the Ukraine Fashion Alliance with the mission of promote global awareness of Ukrainian fashion. Sidary said he formed quickly, “All in this very short period of five months. “
Its inaugural event brings together four brands in the United States that will be showcased in the Archetype showroom in SoHo from Friday to September 16, in the middle of New York Fashion Week.
The brand mix features a wide variety of aesthetics and includes 91 Lab, a brand focused on knitwear; Elena Reva, dressing room for special occasions; Foberini, embroidered pieces in bohemian shapes, and Kachorovska, a brand of shoes and accessories.
“It is now my passion to help an underdeveloped country and its fashion industry export internationally,” said Sidary. “I feel that for the first time in my career, I am doing something to help Ukrainians create a better life, not only for designers, but for the thousands of people they employ.