Amid the Russian invasion, Ukrainian creatives are using their consumer power to keep the country’s economy going. Before the conflict started, Ukraine was known for its thriving fashion, art, and design scene. Now, designers and artists are launching initiatives to support the industry with websites that promote Ukrainian brands.
One such initiative is Spend With Ukraine, which links consumers to businesses offering a variety of products, from digital fashion to electric bikes and blankets. Another effort, the Ukrainian Emergency Art Fund, allows people to donate stipends to artists in need.
The founders of Spend With Ukraine, Yaroslav Azhnyuk and Andrey Klen, believe that the power of purchasing Ukrainian products is crucial in times of war. “Armies win battles, but the economy wins wars,” says Klen. “Supporting Ukrainian businesses equals supporting the economy, which brings us closer to victory.”
Fashion designer Anna October, whose 90s-style slip dresses and knitwear are featured on Spend With Ukraine, agrees that buying Ukrainian products helps the country. For each sale of her brand, 30% is donated to the Children’s Emergency Fund.
According to Klen, the key to success is to maintain interest in spending with Ukraine. “We are seeing increased demand and we want it to grow,” he says. “Getting the word out is crucial to scaling the program.” These initiatives are not only about helping creatives but also about keeping industries afloat and providing a sense of normality. “Product demand helps businesses stay afloat and contributes to a critical financial balance,” says Klen. “Investments definitely help keep life going.”