Gender Equality in the spotlight at Ukraine Fashion Week
Ukraine’s top fashion designers team up with HeForShe and draw attention to human rights, gender equality and freedom to choose.
Date: Thursday, September 13, 2018
On 1-6 September in Kyiv, human rights and gender equality took centre stage, as Ukrainian Fashion Week teamed up with HeForShe at Ukrainian Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019, a world class prêt-a-porter show that drew more than 20,000 visitors.
Throughout the week, Ukrainian fashion industry members stepped up and joined the dialogue on human rights and gender equality in Ukraine with ground-breaking collections and shows that emphasized expression and the freedom to choose and challenge social expectations.
“For the first time, we are talking very seriously about gender equality. For the first time ever, we are talking about the fact that men and women actually have equal rights,” said Iryna Danylevska, Ukrainian Fashion Week founder.
Initiated by UN Women, HeForShe is a global solidarity campaign that invites people – particularly men and boys – to make a visible, positive statement for gender equality. Since its Ukraine launch by UN Women in March 2018, HeForShe Ukraine has developed strategic partnerships and participated in popular events across the country to promote gender equality.
“Fashion plays an important role, since it not only reflects but also shapes human culture and our mind sets,” explained Anastasia Divinskaya, UN Women in Ukraine Representative.
Five Ukrainian designers and five illustrators from some of Ukraine’s most successful fashion brands – BEVZA, Lake Studio, LITKOVSKAYA, FROLOV and ARTEMKLIMCHUK – paired up to create unique capsule collection, Gender in Fashion, expressing their right to self-expression and the freedom to challenge expectations on how men and women should look.
“For me, gender equality, means advocating for the natural right to be yourself,” explained Svitlana Bevza of BEVZA.
“Designers who dress men in women’s clothing and women in men’s clothing are the first agents for change for gender equality. This is clear message motivates us for serious action,” said Ivan Frolov, of fashion brand FROLOV.
The fashion brands were joined by famous artists and illustrators Vova Vorotniov, Anatoliy Belov, Maria Gavryluk and Maria Ralemska, who put exclusive drawings in black and magenta to deliver a strong message about gender equality and the HeForShe movement.
“Men and women are paid differently for the very same job in the very same role, and women are taken less seriously in important matters. That’s why I support HeForShe,” said Artem Klimchuk, a designer of fashion brand ARTEMKLIMCHUK.
In the video HeForShe + UFW: Gender Equality in Fashion created by the HeForShe team, Ukrainian designers reflected on gender equality and the fashion industry’s role in this struggle, and made a statement on equal rights and opportunities for all.
“People will become happier and more successful when they share their genuine feelings and thoughts, rather than what is imposed by the society,” Olesya Kononova, of design studio Lake Studio.
“Fashion’s main purpose is to show the other side of the world, the beautiful side, to inspire humanity to do wonderful, good deeds, and make the world a better place,” said Liliya Litkovskaya, designer of fashion brand LITKOVSKAYA.
In addition, lifestyle and fashion media outlet Lófficel Ukraine created a series of the backstage materials in support of the HeForShe movement: