If you are not familiar with SONI London, you have come to the right place.
Our founders, Eugenia and Sonia (the two names creating the portmanteau, SONI) decided to embark on this venture together not only because of their love and experience in the fashion industry, but their Ukrainian heritage as well––a commonality they hold closely in their hearts.
Supporting independent fashion designers from Eastern Europe is a key pillar at SONI London. In fact, this passion for fashion and Ukrainian heritage sparked a desire to showcase designers from Eastern Europe and propel them into the forefront of fashion.
SONI London is essentially a first-of-its kind online platform connecting and empowering Ukrainian fashion brands to consumers in the UK looking for something fresh and new.
This guide hopes to give more background on the brands with whom SONI London choses to work.
Keep reading to learn more about independent Ukrainian fashion brands and why they are important to the brand, and why they should be important to you, too!
What is an Independent Fashion Brand?
SONI London takes pride in not only showcasing but empowering independent fashion brands, and by placing an emphasis on Eastern European fashion designers.
But before we delve into the Eastern European element of the brands on showcase, let’s clarify more about what is meant exactly by "independent fashion."
In sum, an independent fashion brand is a clothing or accessories brand that is owned and operated by individuals or small teams rather than by large corporations.
Independent brands are often started by designers who want to create unique and original designs that reflect their personal style and creative vision.
These brands may be run as small businesses, with a focus on quality, craftsmanship, and ethical production practices.
Why Does SONI London Support Ukrainian Independent Fashion Brands?
Independent fashion brands often have a strong emphasis on creativity and individuality, and may be more experimental in their designs and materials than larger, more mainstream brands.
This is especially true of SONI London where the designers we house in our online shop are acutely creative and constantly pushing the boundaries of design and functionality.
Not only this but independent brands are often more sustainable than fast fashion. Independent designers may also be more transparent about their production practices, such as sourcing of materials and labor conditions.
We find that the brands we work with focus heavily on sustainability, using eco-friendly materials and production methods. These values are in line with the values of SONI London.
Of course, both the founders of SONI London are Ukrainian which is a key driver of the brand’s inception and something both the founders care passionately about. However, not all of the fashion designers we showcase are Ukrainian. Take for example, GUDU who is led by Georgian designer, Lasha Mdinaradze.
While independent brands may have a smaller reach and lower production volumes than larger brands, they often have a loyal following and are highly regarded by fashion insiders and consumers who value unique and original designs.
Have a look at our roster of independent Eastern European designers here.
Which Ukrainian Independent Fashion Brands Does SONI London Work With?
At SONI London we pride ourselves in presenting Eastern European fashion design, but have you ever stopped to wonder what that really means?
Below are some of the best and bright minds in Eastern European fashion.
KNITEL - KNITEL is a clothing brand founded in 2014 by Nataliya Knitel. Located in Kyiv, the brand has a distinctive character that is focused on purposeful and independent people, where self-confidence borders on a sense of style. Inspired by the lives and needs of women, the goal is to create an image that can convey the uniqueness and individuality of each.
NATALIYA NOVITSKA - The brand was founded by a stylist and designer, Nataliya Novitska, in Lviv, Ukraine, in 2020. Nataliya made her way in the industry by working as a personal stylist in London and styling fashion campaigns in Ukraine, obtaining more than 5 years of experience in fashion.
BERLIZEVA - Anastasia Berlizeva is 18 years old, originally from Ukraine, Ternopil. Anastasia started to study design when she was 15 at Lviv Fashion School. She became the youngest designer in the Ukrainian Fashion Week, presenting her first collection when she was 16.
KOLOSOVA - KOLOSOVA is a Ukrainian fashion brand for women who inspire.The mission is to develop an unstoppable image of femininity through the external form and strengthen feminine energy. Because if there are no women, life will stop. You don’t need any special moment to showcase your femininity.
LALLIER - Boldness, Sexuality, and Uniqueness are the main motives of this Ukrainian brand LALLIER. LALLIER was founded in 2017. Its designer, Julia Frants uses provocation and emphasizes the individuality of each model in an intricate style and in rare fabrics that look noble. Every product has an exclusive eye-catching design, high-quality materials and eye-catching fittings.
- IRARO - irAro was founded in 2017 by a young Ukrainian designer Ira Romanenko. The brand has chosen the direction of slow fashion. They have narrowed the range to basic items of clothing that take up a minimum amount of space not only in your wardrobe, but also in your suitcase.
What Fashion Brands Support Ukraine?
Championing independent Ukrainian fashion design is important at SONI London, and therefore it is important to provide as much detail as possible about other brands who support Ukrainian small businesses.
Did you know that there are several fashion brands that support Ukraine either by manufacturing their products in their country or by collaborating with local designers and artisans?
Here are some other Ukrainian fashion brands to look at:
Anna K - a fashion brand founded by Ukrainian designer Anna Karenina that is known for its colorful and playful designs. The brand has gained international recognition and has been featured in the fashion weeks of Paris and London.
Ksenia Schnaider - a fashion brand founded by Ukrainian designers Ksenia and Anton Schnaider. The brand is known for its contemporary designs and its innovative use of denim.
Vita Kin - a fashion brand founded by Ukrainian designer Vita Kin that is known for its colorful embroidered dresses and blouses. The brand has been featured in major fashion publications and has gained a strong following among celebrities and fashion influencers.
Oksana Mukha - a bridal and evening wear brand that is based in Ukraine. The brand has gained international recognition and has been featured in fashion shows in New York, Paris, and Milan.
- Litkovskaya - a fashion brand founded by Ukrainian designer Lilia Litkovskaya that is known for its minimalistic designs and its use of high-quality materials. The brand has gained a strong following among fashion insiders and has been featured in major fashion publications.
These are just a few examples, but there are many other fashion brands that support Ukraine as well.
In fact, the list of designers on our website either support Ukraine or are Ukrainian themselves.
What are the Biggest Humanitarian Organisations in Ukraine to Donate to Today?
There are many humanitarian organisations working in Ukraine where you can make donations. Here are some of the largest and most well-known organisations to keep in mind:
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) - The ICRC is a global humanitarian organization that provides assistance to people affected by conflict and violence. In Ukraine, the organization provides support to people affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, including emergency assistance, healthcare services, water and sanitation projects.
UNICEF - UNICEF is a United Nations agency that works to improve the lives of children worldwide. In Ukraine, UNICEF provides assistance to children affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, including support for education, child protection, and health services.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) - MSF is an international medical humanitarian organization that provides medical care to people affected by conflict, disasters, and epidemics. In Ukraine, MSF provides medical and mental health care to people affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Save the Children - Save the Children is an international organization that works to improve the lives of children around the world. In Ukraine, Save the Children provides support to children affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, including education, child protection, and healthcare services.
Caritas Ukraine - Caritas Ukraine is a Catholic charity that provides humanitarian and social assistance to people in need. In Ukraine, Caritas provides support to people affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, including emergency assistance, food aid, and healthcare services.
- We Help Ukrainians (WHU) - Since the very beginning of the project, We Help Ukrainians (WHU) has helped to arrange numerous deliveries of humanitarian aid and supplies to Ukraine. They respond directly to requests from humanitarian organisations, hospitals, orphanages, and civillian humanitarian hubs. SONI London is proud to have a partnership with We Help Ukrainians. Have a look at their website for more details.
These are just a few examples of the many organisations working to help people in Ukraine.
As always, before donating, it is important to research the organisations to ensure that your donation will be used effectively and efficiently.
How to Help Support Ukrainian Fashion Designers
There are several ways you can support Ukrainian fashion designers and the fashion industry in Ukraine:
Buy from Ukrainian fashion designers - By purchasing clothes and accessories from Ukrainian designers, you are supporting their work and helping to sustain the industry.
Attend fashion events and shows - Attending fashion events and shows in Ukraine, such as Ukrainian Fashion Week, is a great way to support local designers and learn more about their work.
Share and promote Ukrainian fashion on social media - Share your favorite Ukrainian fashion designers and their designs on social media to help raise awareness and promote their work.
Visit local markets and shops - Local markets and shops often feature handmade and unique items made by Ukrainian designers. By shopping at these places, you can support local artisans and designers.
- Collaborate with Ukrainian designers - If you are a fashion blogger, influencer, or media professional, consider collaborating with Ukrainian designers to help promote their work to a wider audience.
By supporting Ukrainian fashion designers, you can help to sustain the local fashion industry, promote Ukrainian culture, and help designers to achieve their goals and dreams.
Check out #BRAVEUKRAINE
If you are still wondering about how to help Ukrainian fashion designers come to the forefront of the industry, keep an eye out on our Brave Ukraine page.
We are all consumers and our support is imperative. Hopefully our guide to independent Ukrainian fashion brands has helped shed more light on why we are doing what we are doing and why this is so integral to the fashion industry.
For updates regarding new independent designers coming to light keep an eye out on our page for general updates.
And to stay abreast on our humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, check out our updates on #BraveUkraine and We Help Ukrainians now.
The SONI London Team