Next Fashion Capital of Tomorrow?


The world’s eyes have recently been turned towards Ukraine, which led to many calls for closer integration with this Eastern European country.

next fashion capital tomorrow

The world’s eyes have recently been turned towards Ukraine, which led to many calls for closer integration with this Eastern European country. One of the results of drawing the global community’s attention towards Ukrainian culture was the discovery of many fashion talents. Apparently, the potential of the country is so high that New York’s Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology has recently included Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, in its new exhibition, Global Fashion Capitals. The question, however, is whether this European capital will be able to stay in the high rankings. It sure seems possible because the country has plenty of talented designers.

Ariele Elia, assistant curator of costumes and textiles at the Museum at FIT, explains that in order to keep the attention of both the international press and buyers, emerging fashion capitals have to achieve two things:

Ensure that their talented and successful designers stay for home fashion weeks. Discover and support new talents to replace the designers who move to the big four fashion weeks.

Global fashion capitals, like Paris, Milan, and New York, can successfully do both. At the moment, it’s hard to predict whether Kyiv will be able to realize its full potential. However, the growing popularity of various Ukrainian designs looks very promising.

Ukrainian Embroidery Conquering the Runways

Ukrainian fashion is closely tied to the country’s culture, and embroidery plays an essential part in it. A traditional Ukrainian costume features several embroidered details. Vyshyvanka(hand-embroidered shirt) deserves individual recognition as it played an important role in the culture of the country. Every region of Ukraine has its own distinct ornaments that were embroidered into vyshyvankas, and studying one of these shirts could provide a lot of information about the person wearing it.

Two of the talented Ukrainian designers, Anna K and Anton Belinskiy, got a chance to showcase their vyshyvankas in the Museum at FIT, but even without this success these embroidered shirts have been taking both the runways and clothing stores by a storm. This beautiful form of ethnic embroidery even managed to inspire renowned designers, such as Valentino. Those icons of fashion poured more spotlight onto it by including embroidered elements in their own collections.

Fashion in Kyiv

Not all Ukrainian designers are busy promoting the image of their country at various global fashion capitals. A great number of talented individuals remain working in Ukraine. Their combined efforts resulted in the last Kyiv Mercedes-Benz Fashion Day being proclaimed the best in its 10 season history.

All this clearly shows that rich Ukrainian cultural heritage has the potential to make this country an important player on the global fashion market. But even with such an extraordinary amount of talent, it is not there yet.

Can Kyiv Become a Global Fashion Capital?

That’s definitely a hard question. However, there is no doubt that the city has the makings of one. Kyiv also has plenty of great examples to follow. Seoul and Sao Paulo are the first recently discovered and established fashion capitals that spring to mind. These cities managed to carve their place in the world of international fashion by using various development and promotion strategies.

It’s impossible for Kyiv to implement many of those successful strategies due to various reasons. The Internet, though, remains available to everyone and a wise online marketing campaign can make up for the lack of funding. The success of Vita Kin with Instagram is a definite proof of this. Using social media allowed this talented Kyiv designer to turn traditional Ukrainian embroidered blouses into a real fashion trend recognized all over the world.

There are five necessary ingredients in the recipe for making Kyiv a full-fledged global fashion capital:

- Product
- Inspiration
- Publicity
- Political support
- Economic support

The first two items Ukraine has in abundance and it’s doing a great job of developing the third. However, both political and economic support for the fashion industry is lacking. Everything Ukrainian fashion enthusiasts managed to achieve had been generated through their own efforts. While there is no arguing the fact that the results of said efforts are to be admired, it’s also clear that it will be very hard to make Kyiv the next global fashion destination in Europe with these resources only. Let’s hope that Ukrainian fashion industry will be able to benefit from this as these beautiful designs deserve to be seen and appreciated by people all over the world.

Lada Legina