As hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians continue to challenge Viktor Yanukovych’s government, protesters are employing every tactic possible, including fashion. According to Ukrainian designer Anton Belinskiy, all of the nation’s fashion industry is on the Kiev streets these days-an exciting escalation on the heels of this fall’s Kiev Fashion Days event. “We are common citizens who want to contribute to the future of our motherland,” says Belinskiy. “It’s not about glamour.”
With photographer Alexandra Trishina, 16, and model Nastya Petryshina, 15, whom he met through Facebook just before the shoot, Belinsky took to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) for a spontaneous fashion story using his recent collection mixed with traditional Ukrainian dress, such as the head wreath, or “vinok,” the leather kaftan, or “kozhukh,” and the blue and yellow national flag. “Around us there were students covered in blood, protesters, journalists. At first they could not understand what we were doing, and some were even a bit aggressive, but then after understanding what it was they strongly supported us.” It is pure energy experimentation.
Protests continue while many await Yanukovych’s government’s next move, which earlier today survived a no-confidence vote. Civil unrest began after the president walked away from an integration pact with the European Union, which was supposed to be signed at the recent Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, to pursue closer relations with Russia. “The situation is changing every minute,” Belinskiy says.