Industry trade

Global fashion industry urged to show support for Ukraine | Ukraine

Pressure is mounting for designers to use their catwalk platform to show solidarity with Ukraine, and for luxury brands to cut off their Russian revenue streams.

Balenciaga has become the first brand at Paris fashion week to make a statement of solidarity with Ukraine. Ahead of a show scheduled for Sunday, the brand indicated that it “would open our platforms in the coming days to report and relay information about the situation in Ukraine”. He also donated to the World Food Program.

Kyiv has a strong contemporary fashion scene, and many design studios and fashion companies across Europe have Ukrainian team members. However, the strong sentiment among those on the ground at fashion week has so far not translated into action at board level. Russian consumers represent about 3% of global sales of luxury goods.

TsUM Kyiv, a department store in the Ukrainian capital, has been closed since the start of the Russian invasion, with plans to turn its underground car park into a hospital. The store is leading calls for the fashion industry to show support by ceasing trade with Russia.

“The fashion industry needs to stand up,” marketing director Marusya Koval told Vogue Business. “Stop trading – stop supplying Russia. Stop dealing with Russia.

Danish cult label Ganni and Hungarian brand Nanushka are among the few to have stopped selling in Russia. Ganni is “aligning with international sanctions and freezing all trade with Russia,” said its creative director, Ditte Reffstrup. Nanushka has stopped deliveries to customers in Russia and pending orders with wholesale partners in the country will not be fulfilled.

“We have respect for the Russian people and our partners,” said Nanushka CEO Peter Baldaszti, who was watching a fashion week show in Milan when news of the Ukraine invasion broke. “We know it’s not their decision, but it’s impossible to do business with Russia based on our moral values.”

He described it as “a major financial decision” for the small label, adding “we hope for a quick solution so that we can rebuild these relationships”.

On Wednesday, British online fashion retailer Asos suspended operations in Russia following the invasion. “Against the backdrop of the continuing war, Asos has decided that it is neither practical nor fair to continue to do business in Russia,” an Asos spokesperson said.

London-based magazine 1Granary, whose editor-in-chief Olya Kuryshchuk is Ukrainian, published an open letter on Tuesday asking “fashion companies and their executives to stand together with Ukraine and condemn the Russian invasion” .

The letter, whose first signatories include designer Christopher Kane, photographer Nick Knight, buyers from influential London boutiques Browns and Dover Street Market and editors from iD, Dazed and The Face magazines, affirms the power of fashion in as a “trillion dollar industry with a gigantic culture and even political influence. In times of crisis, it is easy to dismiss this power as superfluous, frivolous, deaf, hypocritical [sic] or non-essential… wherever you are today, don’t turn your back, don’t close your eyes.

Paris Fashion Week’s governing body called for the “solemnity” of this week’s shows but insisted the event would go ahead as planned.

“Given the current context, the Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion encourages you to live the parades of the days to come with solemnity, and in reflection of these dark hours”, declared Monday its president, Ralph Toledano.

Giorgio Armani is one of the few great designers to have tackled the war directly on the catwalks, holding his Milan show in silence.

In a statement, the creator said the choice not to play music at Sunday’s event “was seen as a sign of respect for those involved in the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine.”

The move was welcomed by Vogue Ukraine, who asked in an Instagram post “will this timely and charitable gesture find a follow-up in future shows?”