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IN PROGRESS. Dress Code of Ukraine during Independence

The Curator: Zoya Zvinyatskivska

Mystetskiy Arsenal 14.06.2017-06.08.2017


Whats it about? Fashion has always been a reflection of people`s imagination about the perfect world and how can they perfect themselves in this world. That is why this project is not a story about Ukrainian fashion, or, at least, not only that. It is a story about our society, our country reflected by the clothing models, created by Ukrainian designers.

When? The chronological story begins in 1991 and lasts until the current moment. Every part of the exhibition presents systems of attitudes towards fashion that existed in different periods. If you go through all the halls of the exhibition, you will see the path that our society has made: from the Soviet period and self-awareness of being a part of the empire, up to its realization as an independent state which is heading towards Europe. This path has not yet ended; it is in progress.

How? There are three periods in the history of Ukrainian fashion of the time of Independence. Two parts represent each period. These pairs form a complete understanding of each period: one of them reflects fashion imagery about the ideal society and the second, imagery about the ideal ‘us’.


Part 1. New Freedoms

Part 2. New Establishment

Young avant-garde designers are presenting their fashion collections all over the country, demonstrating the sharpest points of post-totalitarian society: the destruction of the old Symbolics, the sex and sexuality issue in public discourse, the appearance of youth subcultures, and so on. At the same time, the new financial and political elite forms the clientele of the first private fashion houses.



Part 3. The search for a national identity

Part 4. Ukrainian Glamour

Self-awareness of being a citizen of the independent state, with a great culture, vivid and ancient, caused various original versions of actualization of Ukrainian cultural heritage. This process has been reflected in fashion as well. At the same time, designers have played a significant role in creating the public image of the most famous local pop singers, TV stars, and socialites. Their slightly grotesque style had significant and widespread effect on Ukrainian “folk” glamor.


2010 – nowadays

Part 5. Anti-glamour. New urbanism.

Part 6. Global market.

The anti-glamour has become a response of the new generation to the previous glamor age. At the same time, the new aesthetic has become a means of uniting the global urban “nation” of the digital age. Later, young Ukrainian designers began to work with global markets in the country and abroad. They worked with the tools of fashion industry, unlike the previous generation of designers who considered themselves primarily as “artists.”


Part 7. Responsible consumption

This hall is a prediction. Recycling, upcycling, sustainable fashion, and environmental issues are a set of ideas causing fundamental changes in fashion. These issues are becoming of particular importance in Ukraine. An awareness of these problems is gradually becoming a trend – one both fashionable and social.