Fashion's Reaction to the war in Ukraine
The war in Ukraine has erupted the fashion world as multiple brands stand in solidarity to support the nation. Striving to make a difference, fashion conglomerates, industry professionals and individuals alike are speaking up and taking action to create an impact.
With Fashion Week taking place during the crisis, brands took to the ramp as they metaphorically implemented elements in their shows to stand up for Ukraine.
The first brand at Paris Fashion week to make a statement was Balenciaga. The fashion house’s first in-person show since the pandemic was dedicated to “ to fearlessness, to resistance, and to the victory of love and peace” as the luxury fashion house’s creative director, Demna, stated in a message.
Several elements of the show shed light upon the crisis by portraying resistance through a snow-blizzard and heavy winds as models were shown slightly grappling through the catwalk. Each seat in the house had blue and yellow t-shirts placed on them, representing the flag of Ukraine. The show’s finale also embraced all-yellow and all-blue looks. Balenciaga dedicated its social channels to report information about the situation in Ukraine and made a donation to the World Food Programme, too.
The second day of Paris Fashion Week made headlines with Balmain’s stirring and thought provoking show. Depicting a battle, a battalion of dancers resembling soldiers performed to warlike music. The collection depicted honesty and transparency through colour, with elements of protection. “It’s hard to feel good focusing on the shows and the clothes, as we listen with heavy hearts to the latest news” said Olivier Rousteing, art director of Balmain.
Another significant mark on 2022’s fashion week was the Giorgio Armani show in Milan. The entire show was held in silence out of respect for the war. "My decision not to use any music was taken as a sign of respect towards the people involved in the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine." the designer announced via social media.
Another brand that embraced fashion week as a platform for raising awareness towards the crisis was Nanushka. The Ukrainian national anthem was played towards the end of the show while models stood on revolving plinths wearing makeup in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
Nanushka also happened to be one of the first brands to be overt about their stance on the war and announced their decision to suspend business arrangements with all of their Russian partners, putting deliveries on hold and halting orders. Soon after, several other fashion houses chose to go down the same path to show their support. The brands have either offered aid or altered their operations in Russia.
LVMH, Burberry, Kering, Ganni, to name a few, are providing aid and making large donations in support of victims impacted by the conflict.
Chanel, Estee Lauder, H&M, Nike, Hermes, ASOS and several others have opted to suspend their business operations in Russia.