Fashion's Call to Action: How Ukraine's Conflict is Rewriting the Story of Sustainable Fashion

Fashion's Call to Action: How Ukraine's Conflict is Rewriting the Story of Sustainable Fashion

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has massively impacted various sectors of the global economy, the sustainable fashion industry being one of them. 

The war on Ukraine has led to a humanitarian crisis in Europe, and many retailers and brands have withdrawn from Russia in protest. The regional conflict's immediate impact is felt in disrupted supply chains, posing challenges for sustainable fashion's commitment to transparency and fair labor practices. Broad economic repercussions follow, with consumers prioritising essential needs over sustainable products during conflicts, resulting in decreased sales for local businesses. 

The conflict underlines the importance of ethical considerations in the fashion industry, prompting consumers to seek socially responsible brands. Geopolitical events, like the Ukraine conflict, shape global perceptions of sustainability, urging a re-evaluation of ethical standards and choices. 

The evolving landscape of the global sustainable fashion industry demands adaptability, transparency, and a renewed commitment to ethical practices amid ongoing conflicts.

In the current state of the world, embracing ethical sustainability isn’t just a choice: it’s a necessity to ensure a brighter, more resilient future beyond the fashion industry.


In the face of the heart-wrenching conflict in Ukraine, the global fashion community is weaving threads of support and compassion. From renowned models to iconic fashion houses, the industry is stepping up, showcasing a powerful blend of resilience, unity, and a commitment to making a meaningful impact.

Many small brands have offered their crafts for donations to support, despite lacking the financial might of the bigger brands. On the other end of the scale, Fashion Month unfolded with displays of support both on and off the runways. 

Even before the invasion, Kyiv designer Svitlana Bevza closed her New York Fashion Week show with a projection of the Ukrainian flag, foreshadowing the crisis. During Milan Fashion Week, protesters gathered outside shows by Gucci, Prada, Versace, and Giorgio Armani, calling attention to the conflict and inspiring action. 

Giorgio Armani presented his collection in silence, while Paris’s Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode urged attendees to experience the shows with solemnity in reflection of the dark hours.

Many luxury fashion houses also vowed to collaborate with NGO’s like UNHCR to aid displaces civilians: Chanel, demonstrating its commitment, announced a €2 million donation. 

Julie Pelipas (Former Fashion Director of Vogue Ukraine and Anna October, a designer forced to flee Kyiv, embody courage and unity.
This platform aims to showcase Ukraine’s top creatives to global media, agencies, and institutions, offering opportunities for collaboration and support.

Their initiative, Bettter.COMMUNITY, a non-profit digital platform, connects the international fashion industry with Ukrainian creatives scattered throughout Europe. In 2019, Pelipas introduced Bettter, an upcycling system functioning as a platform united by a common goal. Bettter transforms surplus garments and crafts inclusive apparel tailored to customers’ body measurements. In response to the conflict, Pelipas initiated Bettter.COMMUNITY, dedicated to showcasing the dynamic creativity of her homeland on a global stage and sustaining the growth of Ukrainian businesses.

The Bettter.Community website Julia Pelipas and Anna October: Ukrainian Founders of Better.Community

Amidst the overwhelming sense of helplessness, the fashion industry emerges as a beacon of hope. Individuals globally are mobilising support, and the industry, despite its diverse challenges across both high and low-end, stands as a testament to the transformative power of compassion and collective action - A manifesto for not just the fashion industry but for humanity. 

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