In a turbulent political and economic climate, fashion in Ukraine has emerged as a means of escaping – as well as commenting on – the state of domestic affairs. This has been helped by the rise of brands such as the Georgian label Vetements and Russian Gosha Rubchinskiy, who have brought fashion design from eastern Europe to the global catwalks. And while the sub-cultures and streetwear aesthetics have become vehicles of protest and cultural awareness, harnessing angst and rebellion, there are also designers for whom the escapist, whimsical nature of fashion offers a greater creative outlet in times of uncertainty. Daria Moskalenko is a part of this latter response and is using her brand, which she sums up as ‘super sweetie MONSTRA’ to provide light relief with seriously cute, bright and playful designs.
Only a year old, MONSTRA came about after Daria opened the embroidery and decoration ‘MONSTRA workshop’ three years ago. After interest in the craft heightened, they decided to step it up a notch and create their own brand. The renewed interest in appliqué and embellishment is a trend that has been prevalent across collections of international designers: English designers such as Clio Peppiatt and Matty Bovan, for example. MONSTRA, with its bright, bubbly aesthetic, couldn’t have launched at a better time. ‘The bright imagery and embroideries means that MONSTRA has acquired a lot of popularity in Ukraine already,’ Daria adds, noting that unlike many brands who struggle to find their audience, it has been surprisingly easy for them to find and grow an audience. Whether it will be as easy to launch the brand internationally, with heightened demands on production and distribution, remains to be seen. For now there’s Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days to look forward to, with the opportunities to meet potential new customers and gain further attention for the brand.
The new collection will elaborate Daria’s preoccupation with colour and texture, playing with loud juxtapositions to ensure maximum effect. The new collection is ‘a bit mad, but it’s about bringing happiness and making the world more beautiful.’