In any developing market, creatives face issues that they may never have imagined to exist. In Ukraine, the British Council’s Fashion DNA programme is designed to address those issues by providing the best professional industry help available. These past three years, the international expertise and professionalism of UK industry leaders who have partnered with the programme have proven invaluable to emerging Ukrainian designers and a credit to the programme.

In 2015, Fashion DNA focused on the issue of brand identity in order to assist developing brands in the art of creating a branding and communications campaign whilst working with a limited budget. In Ukraine, branding had traditionally been viewed as an expensive luxury and, with few brand consultants operating in the fashion sector in the country, inaccessible.

But with the guidance of UK fashion branding experts, Foxall Studio, Ukrainian designers got a much-needed tutorial. Foxall offered their expertise, bringing eight designers as well as photographers, illustrators and artists to demonstrate the production of a fashion zine in 48 hours. This creative brief put branding into action, emphasising its value even as a lo-fi production as part of the creative process.

In 2016, Fashion DNA looked to establish stronger links between shops and emerging designers and their work. As a result of this poor exposure to retail partners, designers had few opportunities to develop their business side. In response, the programme worked with the UK’s Katie Jane Rose (Director, Bridge Co.) and Krista Grundane (Sales Manager of UK brand Teatum Jones) who provided mentoring to the Ukrainian designers over a six-month period. The pair led a business development workshops focusing on business planning and sales strategies. To tie things up, workshoppers entered into a creative collaboration with UK set designer Phillip Cooper to put their newfound skills to the test. The programme resulted in a series of window displays at fashion boutiques across Kyiv.

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