Who’s On Point? Ukrainian Fashion Week. What’s on Point? Circular Fashion.

Ukraine’s BE SUSTAINABLE! Fashion Summit is in its third year of presenting an international event aimed at increasing the level of expertise of Ukrainian professionals working in the field of design and production of clothing.  The Summit took place during Ukrainian Fashion Week No Season 2021 [UFWNS].  Did you notice “no season”?  One of the reasons Ukrainian Fashion Week is on point.  They are demonstrating leadership in showcasing collections not tied to a season by responding to consumer behavioral shifts in ‘less is more’ and responsible consumption.  BE SUSTAINABLE! Fashion Summit, working within the frame of UFWNS, is on point.  They are moving the discussion beyond sustainable fashion to one on a circular fashion system.  What is the difference?

Sustainable fashion is manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects.  In theory, it implies continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s life cycle, from design to manufacturing to consumer use and product end use.  In practice, it is a linear system.

circular system operates as if there are finite resources.  Make, use, and reuse, aligning with the principles of a circular economy, are designed for products to re-enter after use, never ending up in the landfill.  You design out the waste from the start.

⇒ Read more on sustainable fashion versus a circular system, No Exit, No Way Out: close the loop on fashion. ⇐

BE SUSTAINABLE! Fashion Summit [BSFS] put forth an international educational conference with “Digital Innovations and Sustainability” as the topic.  This summit panel format focused on the opportunity of digitization with the belief that circular fashion cannot be fully exercised without considering it.

Paula Vega Tagle and Alexia Planas Lee, founding partners of Circular Fashion Summit [CFS], say that circular fashion addresses a series of collaborative inputs enabled by a digitized and connected system, where circularity in materials, design and (re)use are interlinked.  Their notion is that today’s fashion system is one of no responsibility.  In a consumer-centric, data-driven model, such as today’s omni-channel, you don’t know what happens to garments when consumers are finished with it, the industry is stripped of attachment with no accountability.  A circular system is product-centric where the entire product lifecycle is transparent.  Digital technology will allow products to be traced at what stage of “the loop” they are in.  The industry moves away from generating output for consumption to ownership.

Other panelists and speakers among those that contributed to the conference were Orsola de Castro, founder and creative director of Fashion Revolution held the special Q & A session; Julia Weems, Fashion School Director at IED Barcelona Escola Superior de Dissen, talked about fashion futures: innovation in design processes and methodology; Vadym Sydoruk, general manager of DHL Express Ukraine, spoke about how to create a zero-waste future of fashion; and Patrick Duffy, founder of Global Fashion Exchange and co-founder of The Swapchain and Circular Fashion Summit. Patrick spoke about digital utopia, and how global digitalization is affecting the expansion of the conscious community.

For the second time, BE SUSTAINABLE! Fashion Summit was supported by the U.S. Government Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program – Education, Culture, and Youth 2020-2021, U.S. Embassy in Ukraine’s support of projects in educational and academic areas.  Bryan Furman, U.S. Embassy Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer, opened the summit with welcome words and greetings to the organizers and audience.

In concert with the conference was a video and catwalk image presentation of timeless artistry and innovative collections from designers committed to a sustainable practice.  Congratulations to Chereshnivska, DHL Express Ukraine and designer Yulia Postushnaya of Postushna, Dzhus, and Litkovskaya whose designs are featured in Look at EDGEPolina Veller’s designs are featured below.


“Oyma” by Polina Veller, designer | Ukrainian Fashion Week No Season 2021, photo: courtesy of Ukrainian Fashion Week
"Oyma" by Polina Veller, designer | Ukrainian Fashion Week No Season 2021, photo: courtesy of Ukrainian Fashion Week
“Oyma” by Polina Veller, designer | Ukrainian Fashion Week No Season 2021, photo: courtesy of Ukrainian Fashion Week
“Oyma” by Polina Veller, designer | Ukrainian Fashion Week No Season 2021, photo: courtesy of Ukrainian Fashion Week
"Oyma" by Polina Veller, designer | Ukrainian Fashion Week No Season 2021
“Oyma” by Polina Veller, designer | Ukrainian Fashion Week No Season 2021, photo: courtesy of Ukrainian Fashion Week

Polina Veller statement:

The collection is called “Oyma”.  It uses ornaments of the Crimean Tatar oyma, which have been preserved in museum collections.  Together with Crimean Tatar ceramist Rustem Skibin, we slightly modified the ornaments, added olives and notes, and weaved them into separate clothing compositions.  “Oyma” in translation from the Crimean Tatar means carving, carved drawing.  Traditionally, oyma was used as a stencil for embroidery and as an appliqué for sewing “kiiz” floor rugs.  As Roslavtseva Lydia wrote in her historical and ethnographic research “Clothes of the Crimean Tatars of the late 18th – early 20th centuries”:  for embroidery on fabrics and leather products, the drawing was either drawn up on paper – a “visual sample”, or its main elements were cut out of cardboard and transferred to the sample along their contour.  With “high gold sewing” the cardboard base of the pattern was applied to the part to be embroidered and covered with stitching.  Today, the ancient, almost forgotten art of the Oyma, gets a new life.  Modern materials and technologies make it possible to use the Oyma not as an auxiliary, but as an independent art form.

Images: designer Polina Veller, courtesy of Ukrainian Fashion Week

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Rhonda P. Hill

Founder, Publishing Editor