“We Aim to Showcase Love and the Love of Life” Ukrainian Designers KSENIASCHNAIDER, PASKAL and FROLOV on Their London Fashion Week Debut

by Angel Nemov on 21 February 2023

Speaking upon the undeniable strength of human spirit and the power of fashion to transform and bring light to the horrifying reality of the war in Ukraine, designers Ivan Frolov, Ksenia Schnaider and Julie Paskal speak to Content Editor Angel Nemov on their London debut.

Speaking upon the undeniable strength of human spirit and the power of fashion to transform and bring light to the horrifying reality of the war in Ukraine, designers Ivan Frolov, Ksenia Schnaider and Julie Paskal speak to Content Editor Angel Nemov on their London debut.

The London fashion community has come together to support and celebrate the best of Ukrainian craftsmanship, by staging its very first runway show in collaboration with Ukrainian Fashion Week. Offering a stage of open expression and support for designers FROLOV, KSENIASCHNAIDER and PASKAL, the British Fashion Council has aimed to provide support for the Ukrainian fashion collective during the most difficult of times, and build a bridge of collaboration and unity in an industry that has proven to be an escape, sharing beauty and hope for many Ukrainian creatives during over a year of war.

Struck by the horrifying full scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, designers Ksenia Schnaider, Ivan Frolov and Julie Paskal had to make the decision of how they are going to continue working and supporting their teams, whose livelihoods depend on them - now more than ever before. Mobilising and beginning to sew and create uniforms for the Ukrainian army, the designers did not stop crafting and designing, creating collections, hopes and dreams, whilst facing the brutal reality of fear and terror each living day.

Ksenia Schnaider created her eponymous label in 2011, becoming infamous for its minimal tailoring and sustainable incorporation of materials and minimal waste techniques. After last year’s invasion, she was deeply impacted having to decide how she can continue managing a team of creatives who craft and work in Kyiv, and the responsibility of having others depend on you. ‘All of our production teams and creatives were based in Ukraine, so I really had to think about how we can continue working, and how I had to become an optimist, completely changing my appreciation for what I had and what I had built in the last 10 years.’ For this season, after a lot of reflection and processing, Schneider is focusing back on the shining hope that beauty delivers, diving into partial escapism. ‘I wanted to completely get away from the colour black, as I have seen so much of it and have witnessed so much tragedy associated with it. This collection is full of light, full of colour that looks out into the future, into the beauty of the person.’


For LVMH Prize finalist Julie Paskal, whose designs focus on innovative architecture and the delicate fragility of silhouettes, the hardships of the last year have brought her team closer than ever. ‘Throughout the last year, we only took one day off. On the second day of the invasion, I brought together my team and we started making garments for the army. My aim was to push through and continue my work, deliberately making a point for myself to continue going and continue showing my collections. I threw everything I had to be able to keep moving and keep creating, pushing through all of the logistics issues, as this was what I absolutely love and what kept me going.’

Her latest collection opted for a retrospective take on the brand’s DNA, reflecting back on the journey of PASKAL; the specificity of colour and silhouettes has become synonymous in the last 10 years. ‘Last year was a moment of reflection, so I wanted to bring that forward specifically into this collection, and showcase my roots and my journey to get to where I am today. I wanted to use this as a metaphor of life, the core human design of relationships amongst one another, and our interaction together.’


Designer Ivan Frolov’s heart-shaped designs are all about the celebration of life, the love towards one’s self and the idea of phantasmagoria that we all can rejoice in. ‘Sometimes people pronounce Frolov as ‘for love’ – and there is no mistake, because the first thing we create as a brand is love, and everything we do is with love. That's why the anatomical heart is our logo, and we put it out on each of our pieces.’ Having debuted his first couture collection in January during Paris Haute Couture Week, Frolov’s reality of creation is starkly different from the fantasy weaved into his designs. \The biggest challenge for myself and my team was to keep on imagining and creating fantasies and stories of glamour, whilst hearing the rocket attacks happening just outside of our studio, and battling between focusing on the grave news that we witness every single day, and going back to work that is all about the indulgence of life.’

Choosing to continue working by providing army uniforms, alongside sticking to the collections schedule, the designer decided to create a charity project titled Frolov Heart aiming to closely support Ukrainian embroidery artists and artisans and create designs, whose profits later go to support children’s organisations in Ukraine, and organisations helping the victims of war and their families. Showing this collection on the LFW stage aims to serve as a retrospection of the circle of life. ‘This collection is deeply influenced by Ukrainian folklore that has expresses so many parts of life each human being deserves to experience - coming into adolescence, becoming an adult, being in a relationship, marrying your loved one, becoming the established vision of yourself and many more.’


When being prompted of how they see the future, all of them express that they are hoping that this war will come to an end and Ukrainians will be able to go back to their lives, and live in a state of peace. ‘We all just want for this war to be over, and for us to claim back the parts of our lives that were ripped away so mercilessly, and this show aims to showcase the immense strength of the Ukrainian people, and that love will always win over evil.’



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