Meet the Ukrainian Designers Bringing Resourcefulness and Optimism to London Fashion Week

On the final morning of London Fashion Week, a trio of Ukrainian designers showed their latest collections in the Newgen runway space of the Old Selfridges Hotel: thousands of miles away from their hometowns and studios, and even further away from where they likely imagined they would be 12 months ago. (February 24 marks one year since Russia first announced the full-scale invasion of Ukraine that continues to this day.) 

An initiative spearheaded by the organizers of Ukrainian Fashion Week and supported by the British Fashion Council, the significance of its timing didn’t go unnoticed. “It’s very important for us to show that one year on, we have not been manipulated by the war,” said Ivan Frolov of the brand Frolov, known for its corsets, crystals, and camp; all of which were very much present on this week’s runway. “We are so strong that, even under these terrible circumstances, the DNA of our brands hasn’t changed.”

While it would have been impossible to stage the show in Ukraine under the current circumstances, the majority of the fashion community there—even those who have relocated abroad temporarily—still have their studios, pay taxes, produce, and perhaps most importantly of all, have friends, family, and supporters still in their homeland. The showcase proved that even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, the designers’ spirits have yet to be dampened. “I’d be working in my studio and I’d hear rockets flying, or we’d have to run to the bomb shelter,” said Julia Paskal of Paskal, with a shrug. “But that’s just our lives now.”

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