As Milan Fashion Week got underway last week, Russia invaded Ukraine. As the result of a long, complex and tense relationship, tragic news from the ongoing conflict has been surfacing daily, and things are rapidly changing and escalating.
With Covid-19 still impacting fashion month proceedings with some international press, buyers and brands still unable to travel, and attention rightly diverted to what’s happening in Ukraine, fashion month has undoubtedly been cast with a dark cloud. Most of the world is focused on what is happening elsewhere. The shows will go on, of course, but the multifold implications of a war and sanctions are being felt by the entire industry and its supporters.
Many Ukranians who travelled to Milan for fashion week are now left stranded – unable to return back to Ukraine, to their homes and their families. One of these people is Poly Kyrychenko, an ambassador to Ukrainian brands in Italy. Posting about the war and directing her audience to resources to help, Glamour Brasil shared her story. Poly is unable to return back to her son and family. Protests have been staged in nearly every major city in Europe over the weekend, including Milan. Speaking to Glamour Brasil about the protest, Poly said “It’s the only thing I can do while I’m here. I was in tears, my hands were shaking. People came and expressed words of support. 21st century surrealism. My family and my son are in Ukraine and I really hope we meet and everything works out”.
Whilst some brands like Giorgio Armani have addressed the situation by choosing not to include music in its show, elsewhere the fashion individuals attending fashion week have been raising awareness, and attending protests. In the midst of it all, reports have been surfacing detailing racial discrimination on the front line and Ukrainian borders. Here’s a list of resources on how you can help, wherever you are.
HOW TO HELP
This super-site is an amazing resource that breaks down all the different ways you can help the aid effort as a foreigner. From volunteering at collection points, signposting fundraising ventures and directing money and attention where it will be best placed to hosting Ukrainian refugees and collating info on global protests, keep checking back at this site.
To address the ongoing systemic racism and discrimination that is only exacerbated in times of crisis, this post from @trippin.world is effective and helpful.
If you are in London, drop off points have been set up around the city, calling for donations to help those directly affected by the war. The White Eagle Club in Balham is accepting donations throughout the day, or you can contact @dimi_dilla who will be arranging pick-ups of donations over the city in the next few days, before transporting them to the border.
For ongoing help, check out the Stand4Ukraine project. They are making t-shirts and hoodies with Ukrainian prints, 100% of the profits of which will go to the Red Cross in Ukraine. Visit the website here.
Music and creative collective Boiler Room have also partnered with Ukrainian artist Masha Batsii to create a limited edition charity t-shirt with all profit being donated to the International Rescue Committee, who are providing emergency aid and assistance to those displaced by the current war. Head to their website for more info.
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See also: WHAT’S GOING ON IN AFGHANISTAN?