As the invasion of Ukraine unfolded at the start of the Milan Fashion week, the intricate link between the fashion industry and the political news grew increasingly stronger while the Fashion crowds migrated to Paris for the next week of défilés.
Several Creators decided to express their support to the Ukrainian people amid the dominant silence in the industry regarding the recent events. Giorgio Armani presented his collection in complete silence and without music by respect to the people suffering and joined Ralph Toledano’s – President of the Féderation of Haute Couture and Fashion – request of “living the fashion week with the gravity which is necessary in these dark hours”. This solemnity was also illustrated by Francesca Liberatore show’s striking finale consisting of the creator joining the hands of a Russian and a Ukrainian Model and inviting the public to join them in a minute of silence.
Since then, the marks of the support multiplied in the fashion community, from models walking the runway with Ukrainian flags painted on their faces to Parisian Label Botter including in its show a jacket ornated with the message “No War” as well as bright yellow and blue sneakers created in collaboration with Adidas. Balenciaga’s Instagram account shows as only image the Ukrainian flag while Jacquemus’ last post is a yellow wheat field under the blue sky.
Some brands have decided to take even more tangible actions, such as Nike and Ganni, by stopping any commercial relations with Russia, as well as the Retail Platform Net-a-Porter that stopped any deliveries to Russia.
The Fashion Industry escaped from the export ban imposed by the European Union on Russia as a sanction to their attack on Ukraine. However, eventually, Russia being excluded from SWIFT International payments systems and other financial sanctions will also hit Fashion Company’s ability to sell and trade with Russia.
In the meantime, Paris Fashion Week is continuing its course, and the French Vogue March issue coincidently titled “Libre!” (Free!) takes an unexpectedly solemn and deep Meaning. The question remains: what should the role of Fashion be in Society and with regards to political events?
Author: Capucine Causse