Thursday, July 19, 2012

More on Ukrainian design

I wrote already about Ukrainian designers and how impressed I am with such a vibrant and diverse community. I like the variety of sensibilities and the fact that so many of them match mine -- classic with a top note of avant garde, clean-lined, with cohesive palettes -- from Vozianov's pale neutrals to Kanevskiy's disturbing reds and blacks to KamenskayaKononova's feminine blushes and pastels. So yes, I am a fan, a convert, and an enthusiast. And now apparently an evangelist.

In my first outfit post, you can see my favorite jacket by Fedor Vozianov, the fashion designer and a linguist. How much do I love that jacket? A lot, actually! I was ecstatic when I got it in the mail. And still am that it is in my closet. A friend recently expressed his surprise that I don't wear it every waking hour. What can I say? I am shocked too!

Now, shopping overseas even in the days of the internet is daunting: shipping charges, inability to try things on, returns taking forever... but the rewards can be great, and thankfully there are now many places that make it a painless and pleasant experience. In this case, I was very happy to find the boutique in Kiev, Suitster, that not only carries all of my faves, but also ships overseas, and has the founder who is friendly, communicative, and really goes out of her way to make sure everything is right -- from obtaining measurements of the pieces in the store to actually communicating with the designers to make pieces to order. The sight is in Russian and English, with English listing pricing in dollars in addition to hryvnias.

Quick aside: I wish more stores chose to highlight local talent rather than well-known brands.It's a risk, but I cannot tell you what joy it is to browse the online store and to know that all of the clothes are locally made. They even have a section highlighting the newly emerging talent, in addition to established professionals (and you can easily browse by designer as well as the category). Not an imported dud in sight!

Anna Pashchenko, the very fashionable and  accomplished businesswoman, is a joy to work with. Each time I wanted something, I emailed her, received a prompt response, and was always delighted at how friendly and helpful she was. I was so encouraged with how well the jacket transaction went, that for my birthday I decided to order a couple of pieces. First, this shirt by it's me:

Gorgeous, right? Semi-sheer cotton and vsicose batiste, it drapes as well as silk, and the back of the collar is open, creating a really cool effect:

The back yoke, collar, cuffs, and pockets have an extra fabric layer, so they are more substantial and sturdy than the rest of this gauzy shirt.

I also really loved these pants by Ksenia Shnaider:

They were not available in my size, but magical Anna took my measurements and ordered them for me. The pants are substantial silk, and the polka dots are raised, swiss-dot style. Notice also the neat pocket placement -- you get the pockets without them throwing off the line of the hip. Bonus!

So this is how these pieces look on me:

I do intend to wear them separately, but they do sort of work together! So may thanks, Anna and Suitster!

And  next time there is gift money, I think I might get this vest by Kanevskiy:

And I really cannot recommend the store highly enough. And look, they have teddy bears!


Laura said...

I hope you don't mind me asking as you may be giving up some trade secrets ;) but how do you go about finding new fashion designers? Obviously, the internet has made it easier, particularly with websites like etsy. But if I want to keep digging, what would you recommend for people to find little known fashion designers? Thank you!!

Fish Monkey said...

Hi Laura! Of course I don't mind, and there are no secrets. Some designers I hear about from other blogs -- Style Bubble,, etc. If you are looking for unknowns, reading a ton of fashion blogs (as opposed to the ones that focus on personal style) is helpful.

I also find many emerging designers on Etsy. Just browsing search results for "new designer" might yield a few good finds. Also check out their featured section. If you are in a somewhat urban area, you can also do an internet search with your city name+"local designer" or "local fashion". There are also stores (online and off) that specialize in stocking up-and-comers. Even if there are none in your area, many boutiques are happy to ship and take orders over the phone. Robin Richman, for example, is a great boutique in Chicago. They stock a lot of non-mainstream names (, and they even carried last year's Izumi Hongo's collection.

And a lot of it is serendipity. Sometimes if you see a designer you like, do a search to see who stocks them -- chances are, the store will have some other new names. Read reports of fashion grad final collections, from the US and Europe.If you travel, try to hit up as many boutiques as you can. Last week I was in Portland for just a couple of days and found a nice store that stocked a lot of local talent.

So as you can see, it's not a system, but if you start looking for new stuff, it usually shows up :) I hope this was helpful!

Laura said...

Thank you so much for all of this information. I will definitely be doing my own hunt for independent fashion! :)

Laura said...

I also hope that you continue your blog posts on new designers. I do love how you have incorporated region into them - I hope you continue to find great designers in Asia, Africa, and Latin America!! Best, Laura