Ukraine’s fashion industry is calling out for help following the ongoing Ukraine war with a number of online initiatives, meanwhile the country’s official website states: “This site has not been updated since the morning of 24 February” and adds: “Spring has not come to Ukraine yet.”

The sector has been quick to show its support and to provide the means for others to do the same. For example, Angel of Fashion is an e-commerce site that hopes to bring Ukrainian designs to customers all over the world — except Russia. Featured in The New York Times last month, the site features 30 Ukrainian brands. It has dresses, bags and other accessories featured from designers such as Frolov, Foberini and Bob Basset and it is curated by Ukrainian Alina Bairamova. 

Jen Sidary, CEO and founder, explains: “Angel of Fashion is a place for you to discover, shop and personally support the Ukrainian fashion industry. Here you can find new content and styles as you discover the creations of each amazing brand. You’ll get to know each designer and develop a personal emotional connection to their work. Please shop with confidence knowing you are supporting these companies with your purchase as the money goes directly to support the brand and their creative employees. Discover, desire, connect, and enjoy the innovative Ukrainian fashion industry. Become a fan for life, so we can all continue to have freedom prevail forever.” 

News publication Forbes reported thatUkrainian brand Katimo has managed to reopen. Based in Kyiv, husband-and-wife team Katya Timoshenko and Vitaliy Panov, co-founders of Katimo, made the decision to restart operations in order to pay staff salaries and support their country. Forbes explains that since 1 March, Katimo has donated 20% of all its income to charity funds that support the Armed Forces and other local causes. 

Both Angel of Fashion and Katimo feature established designers, however another website has also launched that features new designers as well as fashion workers. 

Palianytsia is named after a traditional bread made in Ukraine, which is hard to pronounce for Russian occupiers, the website explains. 

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“Due to the war in our country, many businesses have paused: Some have their productions in hot spots, some can no longer financially support employees,” it says while adding: “The purchasing power of our population has greatly decreased: Ukrainians live in wartime and their needs have drastically changed. Thus, we want to introduce Ukrainian talents to people all around the world.” 

The site contains fashion from established Ukrainian designers such as Ksenia Schnaider and Poustovit, as well as new designers who had to abandon everything to get to safety.  

It features brief bios of the brands, with a link to buy directly from the site or Instagram. The website says every brand listed can deliver orders all around the world, although this may change due to the unstable situation. The site also points out that instead of producing new collections, many of these designers have started to sew armoured vests for the territorial defence soldiers.

By buying Ukrainian clothing, it continues, you help people to keep their jobs and pay taxes to the state budget. Some profits go to humanitarian aid and defence of Ukraine. The site also contains a section for direct donations. 

The project was launched by Masha and Lisa. Before the war, Lisa used to be a fashion editor at BURO, and Masha has retained her job as a manager at a construction company and says she is getting ready to rebuild the country after the war. In the meantime, she wants to help Ukrainian fashion businesses to survive.  

Last week, the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) launched the EU-Ukraine Textile Initiative (EUTI), which aims to facilitate cooperation between European and Ukrainian textile and apparel companies. Euratex is offering a single contact point for Ukrainian companies who seek support and cooperation with EU counterparts, and vice versa. Olena Garkusha, an experienced manager from the Ukrainian textile industry, now based in Brussels, will act as the main point of contact. 

Some brands, such as Boohoo Group and Asos, were quick to switch off their Russian websites as an act of solidarity and many others gave donations to the British Red Cross in support of its Ukraine Crisis Appeal. H&M Group was one of many fashion brands that donated clothes and other necessities and also made donations to Save the Children and to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

Just Style has followed the war in Ukraine and created a timeline of how apparel and footwear brands and retailers are responding to the conflict.