Ukrainian Fashion Week

How Ukrainian Brands Create During the War: GRIE

How Ukrainian Brands Create During the War: GRIE

Behind the Scenes

Getting ready for the upcoming Ukrainian Fashion Week SS25, which will take place in Kyiv from September 1 to 4, the UFW team reached out to the participating brands with a question: How is your brand coping with the full-scale invasion? In this article, designer Alisa Hryshaeva, the founder of GRIE, shares her reflections with the editors.

After the first wave of shock we experienced on 02/24/2022, the main thing was to make sure that our team members were safe with the means to take care of themselves and their families. Some people relocated outside of Ukraine for the safety of the children, and others stayed in Kyiv. At that time, we didn’t know that not everyone would return as the dust settled. It took a long time to reassemble the GRIE team because the labor market was as desolated as the cities bombed by russia.

Sitting on the floor of the Arsenalna metro station during one of the air raid alerts, I thought about how the brand could help in a situation like this. At first, we sold off the available stock of bags, transferred all the funds to the “Come Back Alive” charity foundation, and gathered money for a powerful generator for a medical facility cut off and full of wounded people in my native Chernihiv. The transfer of the equipment became a challenging task in and of itself: on the day we finally got the needed amount of money, and the generator arrived in Ukraine, the bridge between Kyiv and Chernihiv was blown up. The only road left was through the field, which was under constant fire from the russian army, so I consider it a miracle that the drivers who delivered the equipment survived.

The GRIE brand has always helped the Starenki Foundation, which takes care of elderly people in need. Since the start of the full-scale war, our contributions to the organization have doubled.

The region where the production facility is located was under constant bombing. At that time, we did not know if it was still standing. Later, we learned that the workshop and equipment were undamaged, but all work was suspended for two months. As production resumed, we saw a dramatic change in the workflow. Since all materials are imported and bought using foreign currency, the cost of production has increased greatly. Logistics became more expensive and slow-moving. Production couldn’t operate at its full capacity due to shelling and blackouts.

These circumstances prompted a thorough review of business processes. We needed optimization and improvement to make things better. We received help from the Grant assistance program by the United States Agency for International Development. Thanks to USAID, the brand’s bags were presented in showrooms during Fashion Weeks in Milan and Paris. We received orders, established new partnerships, gained valuable experience in B2B, and used the opportunity to tell the world about Ukraine and its culture.

There were and still are many fundraisers that we manage. There is a dire need for vehicles, medicine, and rehabilitation for defenders. But we must provide everything we can to those who protect the Ukrainian sky, land, and sea. It is our duty.

Despite all the circumstances, the GRIE team tries not to dwell on hatred towards the enemy but transforms energy into creativity. We continue to do what we do best – create beauty. The brand has an important mission — to give women a sense of faith in a happy future. We want them to keep love and hope in their hearts.