The Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days, a glittering twice-yearly event showcasing Ukraine’s best designers, runs through Sunday evening with Autumn/Winter shows throughout Kyiv. Highlighting fashion’s growing economic weight, the theme is #INVESTINFASHION.
Participants and fashion lovers describe the five days of shows, exhibitions and discussion as a means to pool resources and boost the creative, artistic and business efforts that are making Kyiv Eastern Europe’s fashion capital.
“It conveys the main topic of this season – fashion investment,” Daria Shapovalova, creative director of Fashion Days, said of the slogan on the show’s website. “It emphasizes the efforts we put into developing Ukrainian fashion industry by attracting buyers, business partners, experts from all over the world.”
At Wednesday’s opening ceremony, leaders of the domestic and international industry singled out prize winners in a variety of categories. Vozianov won the Best Designer category. Jamala, the Eurovision Song Contest winner, and Nina Vasadze, the Fashion Week’s mastermind, made the presentation.
Kiev Fashion Days are more than lines of models parading the latest creations down runways.
The event features meetings and seminars attended by professionals to air the challenges and achievements of Ukraine’s fashion industry and to improve the business landscape, despite the twin difficulties of economic recession and military conflict in the east.
The Fashion Business Forum, made up of more than 20 lectures and workshops, aims to show that Ukraine has much more to offer than IT or the steel industry.
Local designers collaborate with high-end retailers like Moda Operandi or Matches Fashion. Their collections are published by Vogue.com, making Ukrainian creations known to the world.
“The program has featured Ukrainian designers who have reached significant levels of success outside of Kiev, including names like Julie Paskal, who now shows at Paris Fashion Week, as well as Anna October, who has sold at Browns in London,” Liana Satenstein wrote Wednesday from Kyiv for Vogue.com.
Over three days – Investment Day, Production Day and Digital Day – speakers elaborate on how to attract investors, work with media, launch production, and avoid crucial mistakes.
Fashion Scout Kyiv serves as an international scouting platform for emerging designers. More than 30 are attending. With similar programs in London and Paris, Fashion Scout Kyiv is the third such “pole” aimed at publicizing the best of Eastern European fashion.
Fashion Days Markets, launched less than a year ago, airs the message “Made in Ukraine.” This forum promotes Ukrainian clothing brands. Forty are taking part in the newly reopened TSUM department store, on Khreshchatyk Street.
The Fashion Days’ main runway is at the Parkovy Congress and Exhibition Center.
Designers also are showing their collections at 20 other locations in Kyiv.
One feature of the show is that 30 percent of those exhibiting come from outside the country, compared to 25 percent at Milan Fashion Week.
Eleven countries are attending: Britain, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, Romania and Thailand. Delegations from Germany and Sri Lanka also are visiting.
For Natalia Modenova, executive director of Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days, the five days indicate how Ukraine’s fashion industry has developed.
“When we started, our aim was to show the diversity of creative professions in fashion,” she told the UBJ. “Having achieved this, we switched our focus to the idea of fashion being, in the first place, a business, not only the artistic side. We have reached that level when we can attract investors to the brands. Knowing how to carry out business operations and build strategies is the next step.”
“Fashion is our positive message that we are transmitting to the world, creating a new positive image of Ukraine abroad,” she added. “This undoubtedly contributes to attracting investments into our country.”
For comments or news tips, please contact UBJ Fashion Writer Daria Sipigina at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo slider: A triptych of suits and coats from the Fashion Week
Photo top: Ready-to-wear from Kyiv designer Chakshyn
Photo bottom Maria Grebenuk, Ukrainian ‘supermodel’ on the Fashion Week catwalk
Logo: Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days Autumn/Winter 2017 campaign