In the words of Ganna Suvorkina: “The war brought me the understanding that you can lose only one thing – your life”
Ganna Suvorkina is a Ukrainian clothing designer who gave up working with famous brands and designers to sew uniforms for Ukrainian military servicewomen. What started for her as volunteering and the desire to work towards a common cause led her to rethink and pursue new challenges in her career. That is how Suvorkina became one of the organizers of the sewing shop run by VETERANKA: Ukrainian Women Veteran Movement, where she now teaches women and girls tailoring. She says it is a profession that will not only bring them an income, but given them confidence and help them overcome stress.
I am a professional technologist-designer. I have been creating clothes since 2004, when I graduated from school. I worked for a production that cooperated with various Ukrainian brands. Before the full-scale invasion, I taught design disciplines and clothing technology at the Open Fashion Studio design school.
In February 2022 [the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion], I had the feeling that I needed to quickly realize all my dreams and desires that I had been putting off all the time, to overcome fears that something would not work out. I was actively looking for opportunities to prove myself. Then, in the Telegram messenger, through a chat for seamstresses, I saw that they were looking for volunteers who could sew body armour. As early as March 2022, I started working at a body armour manufacturing plant.
At the homebase of the Open Fashion Studio Design School, we sewed women’s uniforms, underpants, T-shirts and clothing needed by the military. At the same time, I worked for the famous designer Ivan Frolov. But later, I realized that I am not as interested in what Beyoncé performs in as I am in what our girls are fighting at the front.
Now, we are thinking of teaching sewing to female veterans who return and who have a desire to find a new profession or try it as art therapy. Girls and women who want to help come to us. They dreamed of doing something with their hands, for example, sewing, but had ultimately pursued other professions. We teach them everything from the simplest skills: how to cut correctly, how to stitch correctly, how to sew. After that, a person already has an understanding of whether they want to continue doing this.
The war brought me the understanding that you can lose only one thing – your life. Everything else can be restored, rebuilt, earned and done in this life. So don’t be afraid!”
VETERANKA conducted a training for 10 women "Own sewing business: how to earn money without leaving home" within the framework of the UN Women project "Transformative approaches to achieve gender equality in Ukraine", supported by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, and funded by the Government of Sweden.