Meet the designers at Kyiv Art & Fashion Days New York


Emily Lane, Bret Schnitker


October 24, 2022


Emily Lane 00:09 

Welcome to Clothing Coulture, a fashion industry podcast at the intersection of technology and innovation. I'm Emily Lane. 

Bret Schnitker 00:17 

I'm Bret Schnitker. We speak with experts and disruptors who are moving the industry forward 

Emily Lane 00:21 

and discuss solutions to real industry challenges. 

Bret Schnitker 00:24 

Clothing culture is brought to you by Stars Design Group, a global design and production house with more than 30 years of experience. 

Emily Lane 00:34 

Welcome back to another episode of clothing culture. Once again, we're in the marvelous city of New York during New York Fashion Week. And we have had the opportunity to meet some amazing designers from Ukraine. 

Bret Schnitker 00:48 

They've come together to showcase the talent and brilliance of the country's designers. When a group of Americans in the fashion industry were invited Ukraine last year. I don't think anyone thought Russia's leadership would make the moral and callous call to invade the country. You know, with a spotlight on Ukraine, many in the world hope for a crushing defeat of the Russian invasion, and a memorable milestone against tyranny. Today's technology keeps us virtually up to date, reminding us every day that there are brave and resolute people left in the world, ready to lay down their lives for their brothers and sisters to preserve what is rightfully Ukrainian. Long after the war is over. Rebuilding devastated cities, businesses and homes will be the monumental effort. In addition to the structures, the economy overall will require all facets to maximize their efforts. Those with us today have managed extreme difficulty leaving their family, businesses, colleagues and homeland to preserve their futures and bring faces names and awareness of their culture, art, an elevated aesthetic to a larger platform, in doing so the bigger mission of keeping their businesses alive, supporting those that work with them, and ultimately feel the rebuilding of the economy. 

Bret Schnitker 02:04 

Were with Kristina and her wonderful line. We're trying to get some feedback and some information on what's going on with your line today. What influences what do you want the world to know about your creations? 

Kristina Bobkova 02:29 

I'm very happy to be here. 

Oksana Tsydinskaya 02:31 

Now I translate. So we present our new collections from summit 123. Here, after Berlin Fashion Week, we already show it on Berlin Fashion Week, and we are waiting for new, for new cool meetings. We just say USA citizens Kristina like the United States very much. This is not the first time in New York and she is inspired really inspired to have this event and wonderful. Yes. 

Bret Schnitker 02:58 

And Kistina, are you living in Paris today are going back and forth between Paris and Kyiv. 

Oksana Tsydinskaya 03:18 

So today were temporary base in Germany, okay. With everyone and our production based in Ukraine in Kyiv, and we save our production in Ukraine in case 

Bret Schnitker 03:30 

that's great. So production is now started back up again. 

Oksana Tsydinskaya 03:33 

From the April, we restart our production in Ukraine, and we produce everything in Ukraine. 

Bret Schnitker 03:39 

That's wonderful. That's great. 

Yana Linyva 03:42 

It's very, it's very important for us. 

Bret Schnitker 03:45 

What can you tell the audience about what's happening Kyiv today how do you keep your inspiration going, we know that art is a combination of joy and pain, and that helps drive creativity. But what's happening in Kyiv today and 

Oksana Tsydinskaya 04:02 

So the Kyiv is the set of different side contrasts. Kyiv right now it is different from the first side. We come back there because our families are there our husbands are there and we want to come back to our families from so we can go to the restaurant to have a meal to everything but when the alarm starts and it goes on all the day, everything is closed and we have to go to the bomb shelter and it's very difficult right now to be there. But when we come to give for us it's like it's very dangerous and children can go to schools Oh, they have to be in bombshell shelters. 

Bret Schnitker 05:03 

You know, the rest of the world kind of watches it every day with the new technology that we have. But we don't get to experience it like you do. And I think kudos to the, you know, the courage and the determination that you have to continue creating in this difficult time 

Oksana Tsydinskaya 05:19 

Is difficult. But we continue to pray because this is the way out because this collection was inspired by the Ukrainian brave spirit that we are strong and we continue to struggles for our freedom, and for everything, 

Bret Schnitker 05:50 

We know you'll be victorious. 

Oksana Tsydinskaya 06:03 

The main purpose of Kristina is to save Ukrainian traditions. And this collection also was about also about Ukrainian traditions. And she shows Ukrainian traditions in this collection. 

Bret Schnitker 06:16 

Well, congratulations. It's nice to meet you. And all the success on all the rest. Thank you. 

Kristina Bobkova 06:23 

Thank you so much. 

Emily Lane 06:28 

I'm here with Lilia Litkovska yes, welcome. Thank you. I am, I am so excited to see your work in person. I'm familiar with your work. And I've had the opportunity to learn all about your brand. But I would like to know, how has the conflict informed your new collection? 

Lilia Litkovska 06:50 

This collection name Vesnyanka. This is traditional ritual, Song. So asked to spring to come to restate Russian. Stolen of a spring, and I asked to spring come back. In the collection, I use my signature shapes. Yes. And I use the prey of the prey of the defenders of Mariupol. As off, yes. And this collection is like about our tradition. And through contemporary. 

Emily Lane 07:43 

Yes, yeah, I definitely see some of the tradition in your textiles. I understand that it recycling is an important initiative to you. I'd love for you to share a little bit about some of the the recycling efforts that you have and how you incorporate them into your design. Yeah, 

Lilia Litkovska 08:01 

I launched my sustainable line four years ago, it names artisanal, we sorta leftovers of production, and the sort vintage clothes of these we shreds like a shred on leftovers. And after we weave the like a carpets and create the clothes with this carpet. Yeah, 

Emily Lane 08:29 

it's really beautiful. And you know, sometimes when you think of the idea of shredding and weaving, you don't necessarily think of the elevated look and handfeel that you have. But you certainly do and you must have incredible artisans that work with you to create your line. Do you tell us about the people that you employ to create your garments? 

Lilia Litkovska 08:56 

I come back to to work in second week of the war, and I come back to Ukraine. I relocate the my production. I gather all my team together because I feel that it's really important for for them to feel my my support not for them that for their families. Yes, and we start to work again. And for me it was really important to to be together yes and it was a I think good how to saying not sample and I will ask (Ukrainian) good example good example for other other designers So brands to come back to work. Yeah, 

Emily Lane 10:03 

That's great and a wonderful inspirational story. 

Bret Schnitker 10:07 

We're here with Maya who represents Elena unfortunately, she wasn't able to come to the States due to these issues. But she's in Paris right now. Since you're representing Elena's line, what does the world need to know about Elena's product in her collections? And tell us a little bit about what you're doing in Paris? To help Elena? 

Maya Persaud 10:27 

I think the most important thing to know about Elena is that she's such a hard worker. And when I met her when she had to flee Kyiv in March, she said, the first thing she said is I want to get back to work, I have to get back to work. That's the most important thing for me. And if you can tell, the finishings are always impeccable. I mean, they spent so many hours and making each garment perfect. I met Elena through mutual friend because she, this friend knew that I created an organization that helps refugees find jobs in Paris. 

Bret Schnitker 11:00 

What is your organization's name? 

Maya Persaud 11:01 

It's called Espero Atelier. And so Elena is one of the teachers there now. And she teaches other refugees, sewing skills, and she's working on a collection that's made from 100% deadstock fabric. 

Bret Schnitker 11:16 

Oh, that's awesome. And is that being sewn in Paris today? 

Maya Persaud 11:19 

It's being sewn in Paris right now. She's working as we speak. Great.  

Bret Schnitker 11:22 

Well, it's good to talk to you, Maya. Thank you. 

Maya Persaud 11:24 

Nice, thank you. 

Emily Lane 11:25 

I'm with Valery Kovalska I'm really taking in the beauty of her work, very informed by formal dress tuxedos, but layering in very feminine elements. Valery, how has your aesthetic evolved since everything unfolded in Ukraine? 

Valery Kovalska 11:45 

Yeah, I mean, it's complicated. So because everything is going to take me like maybe a couple of years to kind of process but the challenge is, like, all the changes to be gone, because it's not just something changed in your, in your personal life and your business, it's changed in every aspect, like, you know, and all the sudden, so that you plan something, so then he kind of so took like me couple of months to actually look like except that it's not gonna go back to normal. I'm gonna, like, so I have to, you know, just let go, which I built for so many years and, and just built a new one. Now, I'm putting together a new collection. And honestly, here by myself, like, you know, look, so cool to go back to doing the garments and coloring the fabrics, because 

Emily Lane 12:38 

You're more hands on now, as a result, 

Valery Kovalska 12:40 

I also, you know, I get to the point of when I want to do even more unique, even more, like, you know, something that's going to be even more special and more outstanding, then, you know, then it's used to, 

Emily Lane 12:56 

I noticed a lot of details in your collection.

Valery Kovalska 12:59 

Yeah, and I love this kind of, like little like inside mission that I want to see this beautiful vision. But also I want to say that, you know, hand embroidery, some techniques, some something that's really celebrate and also respect the craftsmanship of the of all this, so many centuries of tradition. And, and also in my country, there are so many, I mean, the female that the amount of female from age 40 to 65 involved in making garments and immigrants. It's really like around, I think 200,000 people that 

Emily Lane 13:39 

200,000 Wow 

Valery Kovalska 13:41 

I read a statistic, and it's kind of a big thing, because they can, I mean, because of the also the you know, the Fed post Soviet Union kind of a clip generation gap so they can really go and transform themselves. 

Emily Lane 13:55 

Well, congratulations on your perseverance and what you've been able to bring together for this collection for this New York Fashion Week. Lovely to talk to you. 

Valery Kovalska 14:03 

Thanks so much for covering this for really appreciative that thank you for that. It's really it's really important. Thank you. 

Emily Lane 14:12 

I am here with Yana who is the COO of Gudu. An extraordinary line that I've been looking forward to seeing Lasha couldn't be here today due to visa issues. But we're so glad Yana is here. Yana. Welcome. 

Yana Linyva 14:27 

Thank you. Thank you for hospitality. Thank you for your support we so excited to be here. So 

Emily Lane 14:36 

I understand. Of course I'm so glad to talk to you. I understand Lasha aesthetic is very centered around female empowerment, taking formerly masculine designs and giving them that extra little flair to make a woman feel strong and confident. Can you tell us a little bit more about what we're going to see how that's infused in the new collection? 

Yana Linyva 15:01 

For the new collection we become to our entire collections, as this is strong design. More details with a jacket with a long dress, more masculine style. 

Emily Lane 15:19 

Could you tell me a little bit about how the war in Ukraine has informed some of new elements within this collection? 

Yana Linyva 15:30 

It's a global change. It's something for back to to your roots to your honestly to be honest with yourself. So is this collection about about chemistry about constant is yourself? Yeah. 

Emily Lane 15:47 

Is the collection produced in Ukraine? And it is, have you found any challenges with raw materials due to the war. 

Yana Linyva 15:57 

it has challenges every day for his furniture with materials so so it's not so easy now in wartime? But we need to process our job because we have employers we have our team and we would like to go with this collection and work in Kyiv now. So yeah, what is the fabric is a challenge here, 

Emily Lane 16:25 

I imagine but yet you're still doing an extraordinary job finding extraordinary textiles i i love this jacket over here with the pleated detail that feels a bit like a dress, but it's also a jacket. What is next for Gudu? 

Yana Linyva 16:40 

The next for, I would like to show Gudo close all over the world. So we will start with you US would like to see this work. See more people in the world. 

Emily Lane 16:59 

Wonderful. Well, I think you're definitely going to accomplish that with the show. Thank you, Yana. Thank you. 

Emily Lane 17:06 

Thank you to all the designers and representatives for taking the time to speak with us during Kyiv Art and Fashion Days New York. You can see their looks and connect to them through post on the Clothing Coulture Instagram account. 

Bret Schnitker 17:18 

There is one final Ukrainian designer we'll be introducing you to in an upcoming episode. We sat down with Ivan Frolov for a longer conversation about his designs, and his nonprofit organization benefiting the people of Ukraine. We will be releasing that episode in the coming weeks. 

Emily Lane 17:37 

And of course, make sure to subscribe to stay apprised of upcoming episodes, including our conversation with Ivan Frolov. 

Click below to watch the entire episode.

Meet the designers at Kyiv Art & Fashion Days New York