Victor Tkachenko, born in 1960 in Ukrainian Kryvyi Rih, is an artist currently living in Toronto, Canada. Working primarily with acrylic on canvas, Tkachenko displays a mastery of line and colour through purposeful brushwork. In most of Tkachenko’s works persist feelings of melancholy, mystery, and wonder.
The processes of globalization in the modern world lead to the formation of universal culture and, simultaneously, to weaken local (regional) ethnic cultures. Integration of the latter into a single space is irreversible, so effective mechanisms for their preservation are required. Popularization of national elements through fashion is one of these mechanisms.
Roughly speaking, clothing exists in two main opposite forms: traditional costume and modern fashion. In traditional culture, clothing retains its original meaning, because it contains unique information that has been laid down over many generations. This initial meaning differs significantly from the meanings that modern clothing has received in the course of evolution. Additional semantic “layers” in the costume brought fashion, which took a prominent place in the European creative culture of the new time.
In traditional culture, clothing contains unique information that has been stored for many generations
Ukrainians are characterized by the predominance of emotionality over rationality, sentimentality and poetic perception of nature, which are fully reflected in the picturesqueness, patterns, rich decorative products of folk art. At the same time, Ukrainians are characterized by such contradictory features as individualism, creative resistance to others and, at the same time, fascination with artistic samples of other cultures.
The unwillingness to assimilate other people’s cultural patterns was the reason for the negative attitude to foreign fashion, ridiculing its supporters. This is clearly reflected in the plays of M. Staritsky “Not happened” (1881), “For two hares” (1883) and “In a fashionable way” (1887). They caricature characters who care too much about their outfits of fashionable styles, and all the positive characters wear national costumes. This perception of fashion prevailed in the Ukrainian countryside until the late 1960s. Most likely, the Ukrainians saw the changes in fashion as a symptom of social disorder, introduced by the rapid development of purchase and sale relations.
However, during the years when Ukraine was part of the USSR, the shortage of beautiful clothes of its own production led to a passion for imports, which were perceived as more prestigious and fashionable, although contraband, mostly outdated or low-quality items got into the country. Thus, at the mental level, a cult of imports has been formed, which is still manifested in the fact that Ukrainians prefer goods from foreign manufacturers. This is one of the main obstacles to the full development of the domestic fashion industry.
In terms of fashion, Ukrainians have formed a cult of imports on a mental level.
The development of national fashion is an important condition for the simultaneous modernization of the ethnic layer of culture and the preservation of its cultural identity. In modern society, fashion performs specific functions that are unique to it: it provides a monotony of cultural patterns, regulates the transition from the past to the future, supports the innovative nature of culture, and changes the prestige of artistic characteristics of objects. Thanks to all this, it can influence the perception, preservation and popularization of national traditions.
Although fashion, like art, is not nationally defined, it is impossible to fit it into the framework of a single ethnic culture, clearly highlighting national characteristics in its creations, but it can promote those elements that are perceived and evaluated by the nation as “their own”.
Fashion can use and promote those elements that are perceived and evaluated by the nation as “their own”
Wearing national clothing shows an individual’s acceptance of national values, pride in belonging to a particular ethnic group.
The activity of reviving folk costume and including its elements in fashionable clothing has always been and remains a means of expressing patriotic feelings, one of the levers of the development of national identity. Therefore, one of the most relevant fashion trends is ethnic.
When creating ethno-collections, most often there is a formal borrowing of samples of traditional costume without its deep understanding. In modern design, there are practically no dynamic design methods aimed at solving the problem of cultural imbalance between traditions and innovations. The novelty of this approach includes an art criticism analysis of traditional costume and modern fashion, their understanding in the context of the synthesis of traditional and modern layers of culture.
When interpreting folk costume by fashion design, traditional sources should be considered as a combination of utilitarian, semiotic and aesthetic functions, formal (constructive), material and technological qualities. For all these areas, the costume should be adapted to fashion trends, taking into account recent technological innovations. At the same time, elements of traditional culture act as meaning, while modern fashion is only a form that corresponds to such short – term characteristics as seasonal trends, bestsellers, and must haves.
Modern fashion is just a creative medium that contains seasonal landmarks: trends, bestsellers, and must have
The measure of proximity of a modern suit to the traditional source is chosen by the designer himself. However, fashionable clothing made in an ethnic style should never turn into a copy of a folk costume. The more subtle and delicate the association with the source of creativity, the more harmonious the result looks.
The main elements for the development of fashion clothing based on traditional ones are the principles of shaping, materials, and sewing technologies, finishing methods, semiotics and the manner of using things.
If in Soviet times, the state-approved fashion approved of externally decorative folklorism, at the present stage, the tradition, passing through the filter of the artist’s individual consciousness and adapting to the requirements of the time, turns into a new artistic quality that embodies the modern understanding of expediency and beauty. This is the principle used by many Ukrainian designers. They enrich world fashion trends with the use of national traditional components (a combination of colors, materials, ornamentation, proportions, compositional techniques, ways to combine costume elements).
Tradition, passing through the filter of the artist’s individual consciousness and adapting to the requirements of the time, turns into a new understanding of expediency and beauty
Traditional embroidery, merezhka, sewing, weaving, painting add artistic expressiveness, originality, and handiwork to fashion collections. Such preservation of connection with traditions can become the basis for standing out in the global world fashion, forming and promoting the Ukrainian style.
Ukrainian fashion fashion consists of collections, events and places that represent the work of Ukrainian designers and brands. In Ukraine, the fashion industry during the twentieth century has not been formed. This is caused by many factors. Soviet ideologists considered fashion a negative manifestation of capitalism — waste and a means of distinguishing between the poor and the rich. And even though there was a wealthier upper class in the USSR, fashion was not officially recognized – there was light industry.
Production and consumption of light industry goods were regulated and planned centrally, and by the time things reached the shelves of stores, they were already out of fashion. However, the need to create fashionable looks was so strong that Western trends, although with considerable delay and simplification, penetrated into the Soviet Ukrainians everyday life in a variety of ways: clothing was sewn in an artisanal way on an individual order in homes or at home seamstresses, brought from foreign trips or bought from speculators.
Only in the second half of the twentieth century began to work large domestic model houses in Kyiv, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odesa, and Dnipro. But these state-owned enterprises have not distinguished themselves by world recognition, creating global trends, or providing the country’s population with high-quality fashion clothing. The most famous Ukrainian designer of the 1980s and 1990s was Mikhail Voronin, who invented the vest-layout method of sewing classic suits.
New impetus for the development of domestic fashion gained after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Declaration of independence of Ukraine. During the transition of the economy to market conditions, private ateliers and fashion houses appeared.
In 1997 Ukrainian fashion week was founded, numerous festivals, exhibitions were held, and fashion magazines were published.
Kyiv, Lviv, and Odesa can be considered as a kind of “fashion centers” in Ukraine. Ukrainian Fashion Week and Kyiv Fashion Days, exhibitions and fashion festivals are held in the capital of Ukraine.
Lviv Fashion Week is almost a monopoly among significant fashion events in Western Ukraine, and in Odessa fashion competition is fierce: Odessa Fashion Days, Odessa Fashion Week, Odessa Holiday Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Odessa Fashion Days are events of a similar format, between which the collections of several Odessa designers run.
Among the most popular Ukrainian designers are Vita kin, Andre Tan, Anton Belinskiy, Ksenia Schnaider, Yulia Efimchuk, Lilya Pustovit, Roksolana Bogutska, Martha Wachholz, Oksana Karavanska.
However, Ukrainian fashion products have not become competitive even in the domestic market.
The specificity of domestic designer clothing is determined primarily by semi-industrial conditions of its production, which leads to high labor intensity, non-circulation and, as a result, high cost and inflated prices. This offer of designers is in demand by a small number of customers, so Ukrainian fashion can not be considered a full-fledged fashion industry. At the same time, domestic garment factories that have sufficient capacity for mass production do not pay enough attention to product design. They either offer non-prestigious products that are difficult to call fashionable or work to fulfill tolling orders of foreign brands.
The Ukrainian fashion market is still dominated by powerful global fashion brands and foreign manufacturers of inexpensive mass fashion. The main opportunity to compete in the modern fashion market is a full-fledged systematic development of design, production, promotion, and trade, taking into account not only macro-and micro-economic factors but also the laws of fashion and culture in General. The leading role in this process is played by the ability of the Manager and marketer: the ability to attract the necessary amount of investment and ensure their high economic efficiency.
Text from: Мельник М. Т. Мода: від авангарду до япстерів / Мирослав Мельник — К.: MODOSLAV, 2018. — 190 с. (In Ukrainian).
Vyshyvanka(Вишиванка) – men’s or women’s shirt, women’s blouse or dress, ornamented with embroidery, stylistically close to the traditional Ukrainian ornaments. Peak of vyshyvanka’s popularuty in the fashion world was in 2015, due to the growth of Ukrainians patriotism and the foreigners’ attention to Ukraine after the Revolution of Dignity. Among the most famous designers of modern vyshyvankas are Vita Kin, Roksolana Bogutska, Oksana Karavanska, Lubtsia Chernikova.
Kiev Institute of decorative arts and design named after Mychailo Boychuk
The majority of researchers called Alexander Exter the founder of Ukrainian Cubo-futurism: its logic, colours, emotion developed European cubism and futurism on Ukrainian national basis. In Ukraine, Alexandra Exter traveled from village to village, collecting samples of folk art. On the basis of this material he made designs for fabrics, garments, shawls and scarves. The influence of Ukrainian art in her works is felt not at the level of interpretations, but at the level of attitude.
Exter’s experiments in the field of theatrical costume and body art were innovative: with the geometrization of forms, colors, the effects of the dynamics and emphasis on the frame elements she created the quintessential images of the characters.
Exter also created fashionable suits, taking an active part in the work of the Moscow “Atelier”. She participated in exhibitions and competitions, publishing her sketches and articles in magazines – doing her own variant of the most fashionable in the 1920s “Art Deco” style. With her extravagant combined colors, materials, details, Exter often ahead of its time.
At the beginning of XXI century V. Exter reconstructed in Lilia Pustovit collection of apparel and accessories “Aelita” (2008). Her works inspire many young designers and her main principle – “more creativity and less provincialism” is relevant not only for modeling of the costume, but for the entire Ukrainian contemporary art.
Constructivism is the artistic movement based on principles of functionalism and favoring mostly simple geometric forms. In painting, constructivism uses abstract combinations of lines, objects, and colored planes.
Vasyl Yermilov has been dubbed the ’Ukrainian Picasso’. In 1910th he studied at the School for Applied Art in Kharkiv and was a member of several art-groups. Under Soviet rule Yermilov designed posters, ‘agit-trains,’ street decorations, billboards, the interiors of public buildings. Yermilov’s synthesis of formalist esthetics, folk designs, and traditional painting methods (including egg tempera) was an important contribution to the development of Ukrainian design of the 1920s. His distinctive style of constructivist collage and typographic design, called constructive-dynamism or spiralism.
Because of his formalist interests Yermilov was forced out of the Soviet art arena from 1930s till 1950s.
In the last years of his life he taught at the Kharkiv Industrial Design Institute (1963–7).
Glory came to him after his death – to the Constructivist, the forerunner of pop art and conceptualism. In 1989 Yermylov’s constructivist composition a “Gorki. 21. I. 1924” was prised 120 000 pounds at Sotheby’s.