Wednesday, 09 March 2022

The fashion industry’s response to the war in Ukraine

Written by Dimana Boshnakova
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The world has been following the horror and brutality of the Russian invasion of Ukraine as the country and its innocent civilians are forced to deal with the shocking consequences of something we never thought we would have to deal with in the 21st century: war. Many businesses and individuals took a stand over social media channels and demonstrated their support for Ukraine, including fashion.

Fashion Stands with the UkrainePh. Simam Ghaffarzadeh

Worldwide fashion industry unites to show support to Ukraine and help Ukrainian refugees.

The Power Of Fashion

In the effort to raise awareness of the recent conflict, Ukrainian designers Svitlana Bevza, Vita Kin and Anna October have shared their personal, harrowing experiences. Another Ukrainian professional, Olya Kuryshchuk – the editor-in-chief of the London-based magazine 1Granary – published on the 1st of March an open letter urging the fashion industry to take action and “to not be silent, use their platforms, and offer hands-on help”. Olya also states that “fashion is a trillion-dollar industry with gigantic cultural, economic, and even political influence”.*

The power this industry has should be used in the right way and for the right purposes. Vogue Ukraine also could not stay silent and on the same day demanded a call to action from the luxury fashion and beauty industry, calling on them to place an embargo on exporting their goods to Russia. So many brands responded to this, from high-end fashion to small independent brands, every single one of them made their contribution to help and support those in need.

How High-end Fashion Replies To The War

The global luxury giant Kering posted on Instagram, pledging to make a ‘significant donation’ supporting the thousands of refugees who have fled the country and are now displaced. Valentino, Prada, Chanel, Louboutin, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Gucci – these are just amongst the most famous ones who have acknowledged the war in Ukraine and decided to donate and help raise funds for the Ukrainian refugees. Every maison posted on their social media channels to raise awareness and direct their fans' attention towards the war that is affecting the world. They have chosen to donate either to the United Nations Refugees Agency (UNHCR), to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), or other charitable organisations and bodies.

Independent Labels' Efforts Against The Conflict

Couture houses have both the resources and the influence to raise awareness and funds but this is always more challenging for small independent businesses. When it comes to serious subject matters, they will choose the right thing to do before anything else. Nanushka, a Budapest-based brand, has partnered with the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta to help refugees in need of housing, food, clothing and transportation. The CEO, Peter Baldaszti, said in an interview for Vogue that this is “a significant financial decision for a small label like ours but we are hoping for a quick solution so we can rebuild those relationships”. He also pointed out that they “respect the Russian people and their partners and know this is not their decision, but it is impossible to do business with Russia based on their moral values”.

These have been tough weeks for Ukrainians and all those affected by the war. It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that the situation is escalating more and more with every passing minute. It is even harder for those living in this brutality and fighting for their lives every single day. If there is even a simple thing that you can do to help out, do it. The only thing that is different between you and the Ukrainians right now is luck.