Ukrainian Fashion Week

How Ukrainian Brands Create During the War: Juliya KROS

How Ukrainian Brands Create During the War: Juliya KROS

Behind the Scenes

In preparation for Ukrainian Fashion Week SS25, which will take place in Kyiv from September 1 to 4, the UFW team asked the participating brands: “How are you living the times of a full-scale invasion?”. Has the vector of business development changed since 2022? How was it possible to find inspiration for creativity in the conditions of war? Yuliya Perekryostova, the designer and founder of the Juliya KROS brand, tells her story.

We were not preparing for a big war. On March 1, 2022, the brand was supposed to participate in the show in Paris with the support of the Embassy of Ukraine in France. We bought tickets, made a meeting schedule, and the collection sent in advance was already waiting for us abroad.

But on the night of February 24, instead of Paris, with a small child in my arms, leaving home, production, and all hopes, I headed from the border region of Sumy to the west of Ukraine. An hour after my departure, the city was already surrounded by Russian tanks.

I had no doubts about returning at the first opportunity. Within three months, the Juliya KROS team continued to create collections in new realities to which we had to instantly adapt.

Very few of our regular customers remained in the city, whose orders were vital for the business’s life. At the same time, many people continued to stay in Sumy Oblast to work and, most importantly, live here. Therefore, first of all, production was revived to offer not only clothes but also jobs. We all need work to feed and support our families. I accepted this responsibility—since the work resumed, the brand team has remained in Sumy.

I was perfectly aware of the psychological and economic changes in Ukrainians’ lives, so at Juliya KROS, we started creating everyday and universal things at lower prices than usual.

The war made it difficult to enter the foreign market due to buyers, customers, and retailers’ doubts about the Ukrainian brand’s ability to fulfill orders in wartime conditions. However, we prove the opposite every day without stopping.

Thanks to incredible suppliers working against the challenges of war, we have never had a problem with fabrics.

Six collections were created over two and a half years, one of which we presented as part of the Support Ukrainian Fashion Initiative at Brussels Fashion Week in 2023. It was the start of the brand’s new line, which focuses on issues of sustainable fashion.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, we have also participated in exhibitions and shows in Paris, Frankfurt, and Berlin.

The most difficult thing for me was always regaining inspiration because the war affected my physical and mental state. Creating, designing, and sewing clothes to the sound of multiple air raid sirens is difficult. It’s even more difficult to hear explosions in or near the city. Despite everything, we continue to create.

As a designer and brand owner responsible for the people I work with, I know I have no right to stop. This is the only way to overcome Ukraine’s hardships and bring victory closer.