Vogue Singapore’s exploration of the metaverse is one that continues to evolve. To date, we have launched a one-of-a-kind September issue, released digital-only covers available as NFTs and most recently, collaborated with multi-media artist Luna Ikuta on a limited NFT series called ‘12 Months of Afterlife’, and more.
And while it’s no secret that the metaverse has proved to be a space for infinite possibilities to flourish, we now aim to tap into it to aid change on an international scale, too. Cue ‘Fashion for Peace’ by Vogue Ukraine and Vogue Singapore, an initiative set up in collaboration with six designers and artists in light of the ongoing Russian invasion of the country.
Last week, our colleagues from Vogue Ukraine shared a searing account of the first few days of war: “I would never have imagined that a fashion magazine website would look like this, but these are the realities of our time: instead of looking at trends and interviews with celebrities we write about how to stop the bleeding and how to help the Ukrainian army,” shared Culture Editor, Daria Slobodyanik.
In a time where fashion and art can seem almost frivolous, how can it be used as an agent of change? Calling on Ukrainian and Ukrainian-based creatives Anna October, Anton Belinskiy, DressX, Gunia Project, Ienki Ienki and Gudu, Vogue Ukraine and Vogue Singapore are joining forces to help raise funds for humanitarian aid.
This special collaboration sees artworks, sketches and photographs which will be sold on ethereum-based platform OpenSea. Each NFT will be available in 50 editions at 0.5ETH each and will be available for purchase on 15 March, 8.00pm onwards. All proceeds will be donated to the charity Save The Children Ukraine. With traditional banking institutions and infrastructures under attack, cryptocurrency has never been more of a useful medium than now. Thanks to the power of smart contracts attached to NFTs, this also ensures a royalty from each secondary sale in perpetuity goes directly to the charity as well.
Here, we speak to the six creatives about what Vogue readers can do to help during the ongoing crisis, minting their very first NFTs as well as what they hope to achieve from this collaboration.
Think of the designer Anna October and chances are that her eponymous label’s romantic, feminine dresses come to mind. Since the brand’s conception in 2010, October has become synonymous with championing women—from working with Ukrainian artisans to materialise her knitwear pieces to collaborating with fellow female creatives. “As a designer, I’m inspired by the versatility of Ukrainian women. Our ladies can run a business, be the heart and keepers of a home and build the future of the country at the same time,” she shares.
Both her designs and artworks reflect this philosophy. While ‘Poppy’—a poignant photograph of pastel-coloured flowers—is October’s metaphor for the strength and vulnerability of women, ‘Anna’ is an equally striking portrait of October herself, lensed by Ukrainian singer Luna. “The artworks I chose for this project show how Anna October’s philosophy connects to Ukrainian culture and heritage. In Ukrainian culture, the poppy is a symbol of beauty and youth that goes along with the DNA of my brand and my own perception of feminine beauty—tender and fragile, but at the same time strong,” she shares.
The ongoing crisis has affected October on a personal scale. After a tumultuous showing at Paris Fashion Week, October finds herself displaced. Despite the turbulence, the designer sees this as an opportunity to amplify the talent and resilience of Ukrainian artists. As for what we can do to help moving forward? “Remain in solidarity with the Ukrainian nation and keep spreading the information about what’s going on in our country. Remember that silence kills. Whenever possible, donate to funds that help Ukraine and support those who have to leave their homes and start a new life.”
Purchase ‘Anna’ and ‘Poppy’ with all proceeds going to help the humanitarian relief efforts of Save The Children Ukraine.
Those who are familiar with Dima Ievenko’s work will know that his 2016-founded outerwear label, Ienki Ienki, has quickly found its way to the celebrity style circuit. Seen on the likes of Emily Ratajkowski and Irina Shayk, the brand’s puffer jackets may have seamlessly tapped into street credibility—but this does not negate from Ievenko’s technical know-how. The biggest indicator of this? A historic image title ‘Antartic Expedition’ which sees Ukraine’s Antarctic team wearing Ienki’s Ienki’s expedition parkas.
“The parka is designed to enable team members of the Vernadsky Research Base to do useful work and conduct valuable scientific research in Antarctica while remaining unaffected by the rigors of the continent. The photoshoot featuring real-life crew members took place on the icebreaker ‘Noosfera’ shortly before it set out on its voyage that would bring polar scientists to Antarctica under the Ukrainian flag for the first time,” Ievenko explains.
Ievenko notes a similarity between the significance of the expendition captured in Maslov’s image as well as NFTs. They both signify a moment of change and perhaps a shift in attitudes towards the power of modern technology. He adds: “Participation in this auction is an opportunity for us not only to draw attention to the situation, but also to contribute to Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression.”
Purchase ‘Antarctic Expedition’ with all proceeds going to help the humanitarian relief efforts of Save The Children Ukraine.
A designer that’s heralded for experimentation, Anton Belinskiy has managed to successfully toe the line between wearable and avant-garde since his namesake label’s debut. And though he is not one to seek inspiration from trends, he often finds material to work on through people.
While Belinskiy isn’t a Ukrainian designer, he’s an artist who was born in Ukraine. This has propelled him to convey his story and history through the vector of the country. His designs are a blend of sportswear, contemporary streetwear as well as Ukrainian cultural traditions, which he continues to translate from his travels around the world. “Personally for me, the past few weeks have me feeling like a Molotov cocktail. This is when you are overwhelmed with emotions that are completely different in nature. A little more and you might explode, but after that there comes a quiet calm harbour in which you thank God that the day has begun and ended,” he shares.
As Belinskiy isn’t able to access his studio right now, this artwork features one of his designs, modelled by a digital character created by an artist from his team. In these times, he urges Vogue readers to remember their loved ones. “Pray for peace on earth and ask for forgiveness from the people who are with you today. And let every day be in tune with your heart so that it is filled with love and compassion. Support and spread the word.”
Purchase ‘Man of the World’ with all proceeds going to help the humanitarian relief efforts of Save The Children Ukraine.
After spending more than a decade in the fashion industry, Ukrainian designer Natalya Kamenskaya and art director Maria Gavrilyuk started Gunia Project together. The brand prides itself on showcasing Ukraine’s cultural heritage, by combining contemporary design and authentic handicraft techniques from artisans across the country. The result comes through in a miscellaneous selection from homewares to jewelry and wearable textiles.
While they’ve currently suspended work to be with their families, they believe in using the power of art and design to speak and fight for the truth. “Ukrainian culture is very rich in its art and we hope this is how we will defend the right to our incredible history and roots. Art and design are also a means to reconstruction and revival. So when this all ends, we know they would be an amazing way to restore our beautiful country,” says the duo.
Their artworks depict the current situation through a whimsical lens. “It is worth mentioning that however complicated and tragic things are at the moment, Ukrainians have never been so united. And we have even managed to keep our humour alive.”
The pieces are dedicated to the internal stories of bravery—Molotov cocktails that civilians have been using against the invaders, the Russian ship that became a symbol of resistance, and a girl holding a weapon as women in the country are standing against evil.
Purchase ‘Baby Jesus holding the Molotov cocktail’, ‘Saint Barbara Holding a Javelin’ and ‘Saint George Who Defeats The Russian Warship’ with all proceeds going to help the humanitarian relief efforts of Save The Children Ukraine.
The Gudu muse is a rebellious, eccentric character and irresistible in her allure, according to creative director Lasha Mdinaradze. Female empowerment drives the tailored designs at this Ukrainian fashion label, with the intent of revealing the woman’s power and personality through the clothes. On the collaboration between Vogue Singapore and Vogue Ukraine, he says: “This is my first experience creating an NFT piece, but it is important to say that when creating it, sitting under bullets, I was still guided by my own inner feelings, and not by some virtual art trend.”
His artworks reflect the current Russian-Ukrainian war. ‘Checkmate’ depicts the white forces of good courageously opposing the black forces of evil. The colour yellow is intertwined to signify one of the colours of the Ukrainian flag and a symbol of peace and kindness. The absence of hands in the sketch symbolises the helplessness felt by the people of Ukraine during the first hours of war, while the body’s posture shows that they are now ready to fight for themselves and their land. The next piece, ‘On the Side of Good’ embodies the Gudu brand. Various print and colour combinations are seen here, to reinforce the boundless love for Ukraine, the country that gave birth to the Gudu brand.
In these perilous times, Mdinaradze tells us: “These days, we live in a country house, with enemy shells flying over our heads; we spend nights in the basement or run away to the nearest forest. The only salvation for me is an iPad on which I constantly draw new sketches. It is this process that helps me to somehow cope with constant panic attacks and feel calm every once in a while.”
Purchase ‘Checkmate’ and ‘On The Side Of Good’ with all proceeds going to help the humanitarian relief efforts of Save The Children Ukraine.
When it comes to the world of NFTs, digital fashion retailer DressX has long been ahead of the curve. In just the past year, founders Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova have overseen 12 successful NFT drops, which include a collaboration with fashion designer Peter Dundas as well as a sold out Big Game launch.
When the war in Ukraine started, it was the very same community the duo turned to to rally support. “We immediately launched a charity initiative to incentivise our community to donate money while purchasing and wearing digital fashion. All of the proceeds were donated to various funds and 3D designers to support the cause,” they share.
The latest part of this incentive is DressX’s digital collection with fellow Ukrainian label, TTSWTRS. “We launched our TTSWTRS digital collection some time ago at DressX. This collection was a successful launch for us as both brands have strong communities of followers.” The newest development from this collaboration sees a tulle dress in a colour combination of navy and gold, inspired by the Ukrainian flag. The best part? Owners of ‘Intergalactic Freedom Dress’ will have exclusive access to the garment on DressX’s app.
Purchase ‘Intergalactic Freedom Dress’ with all proceeds going to help the humanitarian relief efforts of Save The Children Ukraine.
Purchase these exclusive NFTs to support Ukraine
Visit Vogue Singapore and Vogue Ukraine’s ‘Fashion for Peace’ collection, which will go on sale on 15 March, at 8pm SGT/8am EST.
To find out more about the exclusive collaboration, join in the Twitter Spaces conversation hosted by Vogue Singapore on 16 March, 10pm SGT/9am EST.