Could I ever imagine, five years ago, that one of my favorite shops in the world, Colette, would sell not one, but two designers from my native Ukraine? On June 13, my team and I headed to Paris to celebrate the launch of a special tee by the youngest designer from Ukraine, Anna K, which she created specially for the coolest concept store. Her collection of T-shirts, Fashion Circus, has sold out in the store a couple of times already, and our friendly bash included the debut of Fashion Fortune Cookies, which predicted guests’ fashion destiny with phrases such as “Uncross your legs” and “I am not a blogger,” as seen on T-shirts, as well as on Style Map.
The next designer to be sold in Colette is another Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days participant, Julie Paskal, who heads up her own label, Paskal. She was among the thirty finalists short-listed for the LVMH Prize, and her romantic yet edgy pieces conquered the hearts of many industry types who were on the jury. Despite not winning the award, Julie has her own victory to celebrate: Her clothes are now stocked at Colette, a place she always wanted them to be. “I don’t like to boast about anything, but this is a dream come true. For me, Colette doesn’t just represent a store, but a platform that ideally shows what I aim for when creating my collections. It’s been a long way for me to reach this important step in my career, but it definitely encourages me to work harder and be more passionate about what I am doing,” she told me.
For me, the fact that more designers from Ukraine are represented in the greatest retailers worldwide means that my work and efforts of making Ukraine a cooler place over the recent years with Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days are successful. I remember how things were when we started the fashion week, in 2010, when not only designers could not even dream of being sold in Colette, or showing their collections at London fashion week (now we do a showcase for them at Fashion Scout London every season), but didn’t even realize how a proper collection should be built. In four years, things in the Ukrainian fashion industry have drastically changed; you can’t be regarded as a successful designer if you are not showing abroad, are not signed with a showroom, or are not sold by at least one of the big international retailers. I am glad we raised the standard, as the fashion industry is a place for only the most creative and successful, and the higher the standard, the more you force yourself to be better.
Photos: Courtesy of Paskal