Modern Take on Ukrainian Embroidery: Etnodim

Special place among all the treasures Ukrainians are proud of holds the traditional embroidered clothing, vyshyvanka. Vyshyvanka is more than just a piece of clothing; it embodies the very essence of the Ukrainian nation, a genetic code that must be preserved, explored, and inherited by future generations. Moreover, it should not be limited to special occasions alone, but instead be a piece of clothes we wear any day with huge honor and respect to our history, culture, and traditions. 

Etnodim, a Ukrainian brand specializing in embroidered clothing, takes the significance of vyshyvanka to a whole new level as the brand not only uses the preserved techniques, symbols, and culture of Ukraine but also seamlessly weaves the essence of modern reality through the art of embroidery.

Join us as we delve into the fascinating history of the Etnodim brand that redefines Ukrainian fashion, talking to its visionary founder, Andriy Cherukha, and discovering their unique approach to creating clothes that inspire pride among Ukrainians today.

‍

Company: Etnodim

Category: Fashion 

Year & place of establishment: 2009, Ostrog, Rivne region, Ukraine

Founder: Andriy Cherukha

Number of employees: 110 

Current location: Kyiv

‍

1. How and when did you develop the idea for your brand?

In 2009, while pursuing my cultural studies, I immersed myself in a community of individuals passionate about Ukrainian culture and traditions. As I dived deeper into my studies, my interest expanded beyond my field and into business and website development. Inspired by this environment and my personal interests, the idea of creating a platform showcasing and selling handmade embroidered shirts by skilled artisans from Prykarpattia, a region in western Ukraine, began to take shape.

During that period, online sales presented a fresh challenge for many people accustomed to traditional market or store purchases. However, even a single weekly sale was a promising beginning for me, providing a modest income. Over the next 3 years, sales gradually increased, as did people's confidence in online shopping and my interest in embroidered clothing.

Following graduation, I relocated from Ostroh in the Rivne region to Kyiv in 2012. In the capital, my fellow student Ivan Korniychuk and I worked as a courier daily, delivering embroidered garments to customers' doorsteps for try-ons and managing mail shipments. Now Ivan is my partner and a creative director of the brand.

Within a year of being in Kyiv, I assembled a dedicated team. We established a physical store, launched our in-house production, and started creating our own clothing models.

‍

2. How are you doing now (how has the war affected your business)?

In 2014, the Revolution of Dignity, the Russian occupation of Crimea, and the subsequent war unleashed by Russia in eastern Ukraine served as a wake-up call for us, compelling us to cherish and preserve Ukraine, its culture, and its people. This crucial moment ignited an increased demand for Ukrainian products, including embroidered clothing, as a symbol of national identity.

With the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the entire Ukraine woke up. People who once felt hesitant to proudly wear embroidered shirts, speak Ukrainian, and embrace Ukrainian traditions and history now joined the cultural defense movement.

Today, our efforts have only intensified. Our team has doubled in size over the past year and continues to welcome new members, particularly from the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine who were forced to flee their homes due to the occupation.

Our ultimate goal is to inspire a worldwide love for Ukrainian culture through visual expressions, encouraging support for Ukraine and its nation.

The brand's warehouse in Lviv, western Ukraine, after its relocation in the first months of the full-scale invasion

‍

3. Tell more about your approach to creating a new collection or items. What do you start with?

The Etnodim team comprises over 100 talented employees, including designers, folklorists, art managers, artists, and ethnographers, all actively engaged in the creation of our embroidered shirts. They dedicate themselves to continuous research into Ukrainian culture, reinterpreting it to reflect our present-day realities.

Crafting a single garment involves more than just sketching designs, creating patterns, and selecting fabrics and threads, as commonly practised in traditional clothing production. It also entails developing unique ornaments and carefully considering their concepts and meanings. Consequently, the entire journey of bringing an embroidered shirt to life, from conceiving an idea to the final stitches, may extend over a period of 10 months or even longer.

‍

4.  Your brand has many products inspired by various cultural phenomena in Ukraine, such as, for example, Easter eggs, works by Ukrainian philosopher Hryhoriy Skovroda, and the legendary Slovo house for writers in Kharkiv. Where do you draw inspiration from to create such unique products?

Our motivated team lives and breathes Ukraine, immersing itself in its culture and constantly exploring its past and present events. Our designers, Lilya Kasyanchuk, Anya Fesenko, Maria Pavlyuchenko, and art manager Manana Glonti draw inspiration for creating embroidered garments from Ukrainian art, literature, and historical events. To create a truly unique ornament with a powerful concept, it is essential to  delve deep into Ukrainian life, studying and embracing its diverse aspects with genuine interest and love.

Women's embroidered shirt dedicated to Skovoroda Bayka

‍

5. What is your brand’s most popular item, and why?

Our most popular models are those that seamlessly blend a strong and captivating idea, stunning design, and a meaningful narrative. It is also worth mentioning that some of our models gain popularity after having been worn by celebrities.

For instance, our embroidered shirt Slovo pays tribute to the legendary Kharkiv house, "Slovo," which was constructed to provide refuge for writers persecuted by the Soviet authorities in the 1930s. It features a plethora of ornaments that symbolize significant phenomena and figures of Ukrainian culture.

Beige linen embroidered shirt SLOVO

‍

The Velych embroidered shirt has recently gained significant popularity, particularly since President Volodymyr Zelensky proudly wore it on Vyshyvanka Day last year. This shirt showcases a geometric oak leaf ornament, representing masculine energy, strength, longevity, and patience.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky wearing a custom-made Velych embroidered shirt

‍

The Sobachko embroidered dress is also in great demand. Its design draws inspiration from the artwork of Ukrainian artist Hanna Sobachko-Shostak, renowned for her floral-inspired ornaments. This model is frequently selected for wedding occasions.

White linen dress with floral embroidery Sobachko

‍

6. Can you share a story about a particularly meaningful or memorable vyshyvanka you created?

Each collection is unique and carries its own distinct charm, but one embroidery that holds special significance is the "Slovo," designed by Anna Fesenko. This embroidery was included in the archives of the Ivan Honchar Museum. Thus, we received official confirmation that our work has cultural value for future generations. By creating a contemporary national costume, we have contributed to a legacy that our descendants will study and explore.

‍

7. What role does your brand play in preserving the art of Ukrainian embroidery for future generations?

At Etnodim, we have a distinctive feature that comes with a great responsibility: we create ornaments that carry new meanings relevant to today's society. Our aim is to capture the essence of modern Ukrainian history, our revitalized identity, forgotten narratives, perspectives, and the aspirations of our people. This is why we dedicate our embroidered shirts to a range of subjects, including Crimea, the bravery of Ukrainian cities during the full-scale invasion, Ukrainian artists, the generation of the Executed Renaissance, historical landmarks like the Flowers of Ukraine, and significant events within our nation.

Linen shirt with embroidered cities-heroes Smilyvist

‍

8.  What is the significance of traditional Ukrainian embroidered clothing in modern Ukrainian culture? 

Vyshyvanka is the visual language of our nation, a cherished part of our cultural heritage. Through these intricate designs, we weave together traditional ornaments with symbols reflecting Ukraine's modern history, imparting wisdom and contemporary values to future generations. We turn to the past to create the style of a new era.

‍

9. What do you think the future holds for traditional Ukrainian embroidery, and how do you see it evolving and adapting to changing tastes and technologies?

The future of traditional Ukrainian embroidery holds great promise as it experiences a vibrant revival and adapts to the modern world. The embroidery will serve as a timeless canvas for future generations, allowing them to capture and preserve significant historical events unique to their time, ensuring that Ukrainians never forget the sacrifices made by their ancestors for independence and the rich culture they cultivated.

‍

Discovering the rich cultural heritage of Ukraine and wearing embroidered clothes is a wonderful way to connect with your roots. So, if you haven't found your perfect vyshyvanka yet, make sure to check on Etnodim's collections. To find more ethno-inspired brands, visit spendwithukraine.com. 

‍

‍

‍

‍

‍

‍

‍

‍

‍

‍

‍

You may also like

Fashion

Home

Agencies

Services