Saving Tomorrow Through Upcycling Today. Part 1

With advances in technology and the continued success of mankind in various fields, the disturbing effects of our activities on the planet are becoming more visible and urgent. Despite these worries, a positive trend is emerging – an increasing number of new brands choosing conscious recycling practices as the basis for their production methods. These innovative companies are breathing new life into old items, transforming them in new and unique ways. By upcycling, these brands not only minimize waste but also make a positive impact on the environment.

Given that the fashion industry ranks among the top contributors to environmental pollution, it's high time for sustainable approaches to clothing and textile production to become the norm. In this article, we have gathered Ukrainian upcycled fashion brands that are making their mark in the global upcycling trend.


CHERESHNIVSKA is a Ukraine-based unisex brand with a strong focus on innovation and sustainability. The brand’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond design and extends to all aspects of the brand. Using only organic cotton, recycled, old stock, and vintage fabrics, they actively upcycle second-hand items, ensuring that materials are sourced responsibly. Additionally, the brand recycles its own production waste, minimizing its environmental impact.

With a strong core idea driving each collection, CHERESHNIVSKA captures the essence of the modern world and expresses it through its designs and prints. With a deep-rooted commitment to sustainability, the brand is paving the way for a more conscious and unique fashion industry.

The brand was founded in 2016 by Iryna Kokhana, who has been pursuing an upcycling lifestyle for the past 17 years.


KSENIASCHNAIDER is a contemporary Kyiv-based upcycled denim brand that transforms used materials into statement-making pieces. The collections cover women's and men's ready-to-wear, reworked, upcycled, patchwork, denim, and accessories.

The brand was founded in 2011 by a married couple, Ksenia Schnaider and Anton Schnaider. Ksenia's signature cuts, techniques, and attention to detail, with an emphasis on tailoring and sustainable use of materials, identify the collections, as does Anton's well-defined philosophy of "design minus design."

At the heart of KSENIASCHNAIDER is a solid commitment to sustainability. With in-house production and materials sourced from second-hand clothing or waste, the brand works with upcycling and repurposing practices. Over the years, they have created countless versatile garments perfect for conscious consumption and a busy lifestyle while staying true to their sustainable values.

For Ksenia, sustainability begins with meticulous research and material selection. She searches vintage markets, flea markets, and small stores for second-hand Levi's, Lee, and Wranglers. These iconic denim pieces serve as the canvas for their avant-garde creations, such as demi-denim, asymmetrical jeans, and denim-fur. 

After the fabrics are sourced, they undergo a thorough washing and drying process. The materials are then deconstructed, with some original seams left intact to create eye-catching contrasts. At the next stage, the materials are cut and reassembled into new shapes while maintaining the frayed finish that has become a signature element. Special attention is paid to the aesthetic combination of different color shades. It takes three pairs of vintage jeans to create one pair of Demi-Denim jeans, and the production process usually takes five days. About 700 pairs of jeans are processed monthly at KSENIASCHNAIDER, turning more than 5 tons of textile waste into approximately 3,000 unique products.


Bettter is an innovative upcycling system that transforms men's garments into unique womenswear. Through its commitment to eco-conscious practices and cutting-edge technology, Bettter is driving the fashion industry toward a more environmentally friendly future. Founded in 2019 by Julie Pelipas, former fashion director of Vogue Ukraine with 15 years of experience in the fashion industry, Bettter is at the forefront of revolutionizing the fashion industry by implementing sustainable practices and promoting the importance of upcycling.

One of Bettter's key innovations is their use of vast data on body metrics collected through 3D avatar technology. Using this data, Bettter develops algorithms to improve both design and fit, ensuring their clothing is inclusive and suitable for different body types. 

Bettter is dedicated to ensuring the origin of its materials. They trace the sources of the original suits used in their designs, and each piece has a "passport" that documents the supply chain, tracking its origin and production details. By sourcing second-hand and vintage items from Ukraine's thriving vintage scene, Bettter promotes sustainability while supporting the local community.

Better is more than just a brand, it is an upcycling system that identifies upscaling of upcycling technologies as the most critical factor in the transition towards a sustainable society.


OLK MANUFACTORY is a Kyiv-based company that produces traditional and modern hand-woven rugs, tapestries, masks, and unique art objects. No machines are used in the kylym production process: ecological cleanliness of production and highly paid labor of masters are key concerns of the company. Tapestries and carpets are made of natural materials. The base of the hand-woven rug kylym is hemp thread, and the carpet cloth itself is made of dyed natural wool of Carpathian sheep or vegetable yarn from nettles. Hundreds of warp threads are stretched on a vertical loom, and the yarn is intertwined with warp thread by hand, creating a real treasure that can entice the most demanding connoisseurs and serves for many years, passed on from generation to generation. 

OLK MANUFACTORY's founder and CEO, Oksana Levchenya, is a Ukrainian artist who, from the very childhood, has started being interested in art. At her workshop, Levchenya undertakes each stage of producing kylyms, – design, yarn-dyeing, intertwining by hand, and steaming the ready-made products.   

The brand also has a RRR (Recycle, Reuse, Redesign) line where new carpets are made out of the parts of the worn ones that are sourced from flea markets and platforms for the secondary market. Each carpet from this line comprises three old ones: wool, hemp, and polyamide. Different textures combined in this carpet make it tactilely unique. The patches of the spoilt rugs are sewn together by a special technique: the edges are finished with an overlock and united by the surgical stitch, as the artist has medical education. This method is unique for carpet weaving.

To learn more about eco-conscious Ukrainian upscale brands, be sure to check out the second part of the article.

Author: Karyna Klachyk

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