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Fashion Rallies Behind Open Letter Condemning Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

"Fashion is a trillion-dollar industry with gigantic cultural, economic and even political influence."
Milano str F22 0393

On Tuesday, 1 Granary — the beloved fashion education platform founded by Ukrainian Central Saint Martins graduate Olya Kuryshchuk — published an open letter asking members of the fashion community to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

Titled "Fashion Unites Against War," it calls for the industry to use its capital and global influence to respond to the ongoing conflict and take a stand. You can read the full letter below.

We, undersigned,

ask fashion businesses and their leaders to stand together with Ukraine and strongly condemn Russia’s invasion.

As designers, stylists, photographers, teachers, students, researchers, models, artists, graphic designers, creative directors, agents, writers, and editors, we continuously strive for a world where creative expression, cultural exchange, and collaboration can blossom. The violence of the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine goes against everything we stand for. This war brings nothing but destruction, suffering and grief.

Fashion has power. Fashion is a trillion-dollar industry with gigantic cultural, economic and even political influence. In times of crisis, it’s easy to dismiss that power, to call it superfluous, frivolous, tone-deaf, hypocrite or non-essential. But our supply chains connect countries across the globe, our media reach masses of followers everywhere, our shared language of creativity is universal. We are an industry bursting with talent, skills, networks and connections. Those tools can always improve the lives of people around us – whether it’s on a large scale or an intimate one. Wherever you are today, don’t turn your back, don’t close your eyes.

We demand our governments to continue enforcing strong sanctions and to contribute aid so freedom, democracy and sovereignty can be assured in Ukraine.

We also ask the fashion community and influential fashion houses, in particular, to not be silent, use their platforms and offer hands-on help. 

The open letter was released on the eve of the 2022 LVMH Prize showroom opening in Paris. On social media, 1 Granary called attention to competition alumni who are currently sheltered in Ukraine amid Russia's ongoing attacks on the country, such as Anna October, Anton Belinskiy and Paskal's Julie Paskal.

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"If luxury fashion houses truly believe in young talent, they will use their influence to oppose the invasion in Ukraine and lay an embargo on the export of fashion and luxury goods to Russia," 1 Granary wrote on Instagram. "This is a call to all LVMH nominees, attendees, past winners: Today we celebrate you, you deserve it. And today, you have the spotlight. You are the faces of the fashion of tomorrow. You have power, you have influence — what will you use it for?"

The same day the open letter was published, LVMH announced a "first emergency donation of five million euros to support the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to help the direct and indirect victims of this conflict," in addition to an internal fundraising campaign. The company didn't comment on sanctions or on suspending business dealings with Russia. 

As of press time, over 2,400 industry professionals have signed 1 Granary's open letter. Among them are Clare Waight Keller, Christopher Kane, Angela Missoni, Molly Goddard, Kiko Kostadinov, Charlotte Knowles, Shrimps' Hannah Weiland, Chopova Lowena's Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena; the British Fashion Council's Caroline Rush; Harper's Bazaar's Samira Nasr, Vogue's Sarah Mower and Steff Yotka; Nick Knight and Lotta Volkov.

Many of the designers that have signed the open letter — like Bethany Williams, Stefan Cooke, Eftychia's Eftychia Karamolegkou, Chopova Lowena and Conner Ives — are past LVMH Prize contenders themselves. Some have amplified the petition on their own platforms with a graphic that reads, "Future Talent Needs a Future," and called for an embargo on Russia.

Read 1 Granary's open letter and see the full list of signatories at 1granary.com.

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