While not traditionally considered a mecca for groundbreaking fashion, Ukraine is interestingly producing a lot of amazing, indie labels worn by celebs. In early February, around the same time as New York Fashion Week begins, Ukraine also stages its own fashion week. From Ksenia Schnaider—famous for chunky denim worn by the likes of supermodel Bella Hadid and singer Camila Cabello—to Sleeper, the line famous for nightgown inspired dresses worn by tastemaker Pandora Sykes and model Emily Ratajkowski, and Bevza, the line of utilitarian pieces, meet the Ukrainian designers to know.
If there’s one denim label that dabbles in the most creative ways to repurpose leftover materials, it’s Ksenia Schnaider. The designer duo Ksenia and Anton Schnaider typically work with recycled denim and for their own collections. Model Bella Hadid was seen sporting the brand’s demi-denims, which look like a pair of denim shorts layered over regular jeans. The next big launch from the brand is asymmetrical jeans: consisting of one wide-leg on a pair of high waisted mom jeans. “It was my old idea to combine our two best-selling models—wide-leg jeans with mom slim jeans, both high-waisted,” said Ksenia. “But my husband and partner Anton said that it is too crazy and no one needs jeans like this. So I gave up this idea for a couple of seasons. And a few months ago I just realized that at least one person needs these jeans, and it's me!”
Capitalizing on the longstanding pajamas as outerwear trend, the Ukrainian brand Sleeper makes some of the chicest pieces that can truly be worn out and about or to bed. The Black Tie pajama set, for example, comes with bottoms elegantly trimmed in marabou feathers and a top with neat statement buttons. The brand’s signature loungewear dresses are made out of linen and button from top to bottom, meaning they’re extra comfortable for spring and summer days. Worn belted over the waist or with a pair of heels, Sleeper’s linen dresses have a home-y, almost vintage-feeling appeal.
The unconventional line TTSWTRS, is all about streetwear inspired clothing that mimics the effect of tattoos. Bodysuits, gossamer tops with long sleeves and even dresses inspired by those worn to a wedding are covered in “tattoos” from different artists whom designer Anna Osmekhina, a former costume designer and stylist, collaborates with. In this case, you often can’t tell where skin and garment begin. “My friend was in a relationship with a tattoo master who had his whole body covered in tattoos and was acting like he saved the world,” said Osmekhina. “I was so thrilled with his energy that very soon I created a capsule of sweatshirts with a working title ‘tattoosweaters’.”
The Coat by Katya Silchenko
Designer Katya Silchenko founded her line in 2014 and focuses on modern, tailored pieces with bold colors and unique prints as well as standout coats. Some of the designer’s defining silhouettes are also bustiers, high-waisted pants and skirts and overcoats made of materials such as translucent chiffons and heavy, structural plaids. Her spring 2019 collection was dedicated to the ideals of women’s lives during the postwar period. "They had to rebuild the ruined world all by themselves, worked so hard on the machines at the factories, but at the same time managed to be loving mothers and caring wives,” she explained. “I think that it was their faith, effort, and courage, that returned the world back to life.”
Svitlana Bevza is the Ukrainian designer behind Bevza, which has been showing at New York Fashion Week for the past few seasons. Just last year, she won the award for best womenswear designer in Ukraine 2018 from the Elle Style Awards. The line is best known for its neutral color palette, silky maxi dresses, and loose, tailored pants and jackets. Her accessories are also covetable—last season she showed a collection full of soft belt bags, chic gold hoops, and gorgeous matching scarves worn on models’ heads—and she just debuted her latest collections again at NYFW.