VALA - traditional Ukrainian patterns and ornaments burst into the modern world of fashion

VALA – traditional Ukrainian patterns and ornaments burst into the modern world of fashion

The first clothes with traditional Ukrainian embroidery appeared before the 6th century. People believed that such a drawing would become a talisman against any bad things that could happen in human life. Ancient Ukrainians wanted to encode life, happiness, love, and freedom in the ornament. VALA is a company that returns to traditions by combining the Ukrainian spirit with designer embroidery and European fashion.

The brand was founded in May 2015 by designer Olya Vasileva. VALA sets trends for many global clothing companies. The skill of Ukrainian artists inspires the development of bright, stylish and bold products that will appeal to people who understand fashion and prefer exclusive models. The combination of colorful prints with quality materials and modern silhouettes attracts the attention of many people around the world. The brand’s collection includes not only dresses and blouses, but also luxurious evening dresses and stunning accessories. Each product from VALA is a sophisticated technique of embroidery with handmade art that turns into elegant and classic clothes.

In the range of possibilities of this brand, there is not only the development of an embroidery project and its detailing, but also the digitization of embroidery, the creation of embroidery programs, and the support of any projects related to embroidery (selection of materials, sewing samples, quality control). VALA has over 10 years of experience, during which the brand has designed over 1,000 models for shows in Dubai, New York, Ukraine, Monaco, and the Netherlands.

 Olya Vasileva began her journey by creating handmade embroidery. She worked hard and created amazing ornaments and patterns. But this was not enough to realize her main idea – to share Ukrainian embroidery with the fashion world. Designer understood that her project required a lot of investment and especially patience. The VALA brand is a long road to success that has fully recovered. Every color combination, every pattern, and every cut is authentic and has a hidden meaning.

VALA worked for 4 years in the Netherlands performing various tasks: providing recommendations, selecting materials and quality control of the embroidery process. Project implementation from idea to finished product. Nearly 100 exclusive resort collection designs have been created and over 500 items have been sold in the USA and Europe. The brand also had experience working with a Ukrainian customer: development, creation of programs and embroidery on knitting needles. A complete embroidery process with hand cut and trim elements to create a unique dress. Only 50 limited editions were produced.

 It is also important to note the participation of VALA in the American project to develop embroidered masks during the pandemic to attract sponsors to support African children. About 50 designs were created, 10 approved designs, 1,000 masks embroidered and sewn, more than $35,000 raised. There were also many successful VALA collaborations with American, European musicians, actors and artists (including Ukrainian performers).

What motivated the founder to start the business?

Before creating her own brand, Olya Vasileva worked as an independent designer. Her creativity, practicality, sense of style and colors allowed her to develop unique patterns that were immediately recognized as authentic and luxurious not only in Ukraine but also in Europe. Embroidery was a way to express her inspiration to the world around her; she is a very sociable, positive, and friendly person who always sees only beautiful things.

She traveled a lot, and every cozy street, every park, flowers in planters, nature, and people inspired her to create her masterpieces. Now the designer is a professional, experienced, and multi-talented embroidery digitizer, skilled in several artistic mediums, including design and embroidery. But things did not always go well; there were moments when she wanted to give up and was in doubt. This is the activity of her life, and only her determination, optimism, and perseverance helped to get the result.

The designer talked with many people in and out of the fashion world and concluded that beautiful things are not always available for women of various shapes and sizes. She realized that she should not give up; it was time to change stereotypes and help every woman get a perfectly tailored dress. Starting with embroidery for the bed, table, and decor elements, Olya Vasileva understood that this was not enough to realize all her ideas. Clothing and world shows were her main focus. She wanted her designs to show the world not only the traditions of her native country but also popularize such a unique style as the Ukrainian vyshyvanka. For example, embroidered dress MALVA.

Creating a brand that would be able to design a dress in any size, taking into account the features of the body, shape, and height, became her new main goal. This is how the fashion house VALA appeared. The main difference of this brand is the ability to create your own unique product, the ability to discuss elements with the designer, and make adjustments to details and colors. Every woman is beautiful and unique, so the VALA team will help her create an exclusive dress or blouse with Ukrainian motifs.

The challenges the business is facing

Many fashion houses face certain difficulties at the stage of their development. VALA was no exception. The brand was just beginning to enter the Ukrainian market; collections were being developed, there were several at fashion weeks. But the designer treated her brand not as a business but as a fashion, so she was not upset that the name did not become super popular in the first six months and after several shows.

Popularity rarely comes overnight when you suddenly become famous. As a rule, long, hard work and investments are behind this. But not only the usual difficulties overtook the brand in 2022. With the onset of the war, the brand was on the verge of closing. Since all production is located in Kyiv. The designer did not want to transport production abroad, as it is important for her to continue to develop in Ukraine and support the craftsmen who are still working today in these turbulent conditions. With the advent of the war, VALA was able to resume and establish production. But of course there are a number of problems: constant arrivals of rockets, periodic lack of electricity, longer delivery. But the brand does not give up, it remains to work in Ukraine and  believes in an early Victory.

The opportunities the business is facing

VALA began to use embroidery of various nations, combine it with the Ukrainian style and try to make as diverse and modern models as possible with authentic elements that will impress embroidery fans all over the world. The brand has come to the pinnacle of success because the designer offers the limited number of each product. Customers can make individual orders with the ability to change the size, colors, and other design details. When creating each dress or blouse, high-quality European materials are used that are not only beautiful but also comfortable. The brand uses mainly natural materials such as 100% linen. Decorative elements may include tulle, satin, and more. VALA began to expand its assortment, and now you can order T-shirts, chic evening dresses, embroidered clothes, or interior elements, as well as traditional Ukrainian vyshyvankas in a modern design.

VALA achieved success because it showed incredible things that are so easy to create outfits for every day, combining with skirts, shorts, and trousers. And the unique, rich embroidery makes this look simply amazing! Exclusively the brand shared that it focuses on every embroidery design to create an authentic masterpiece that will impress not only the client but also the machine operator because the designer have experience with industrial embroidery equipment. 

Among her numerous design talents is the development of programs that imitate hand embroidery.  This has also become a feature of the VALA brand because now embroidered clothes have become a good alternative to mass-produced clothes. Every woman can get an unforgettable experience of luxury with the help of exclusive embroidered clothes that combine naturalness, beauty, harmony, and comfort.

VALA proves that embroidery is not only an element of the national costume but also a fashionable and modern technique that allows you to emphasize your individuality and create a unique image. VALA creates amazing materials for embroidery, which allows creating high-quality embroidery close to handmade. This brand sets trends for global clothing companies because it shows that the use of sophisticated traditional embroidery techniques gives life to magnificent handmade works of art that show the unique Ukrainian heritage and pride. VALA is open to collaborations with designers and artists around the world to make this world brighter, more interesting, more unique and show that embroidery is fashionable and relevant.

Business advice to others

VALA proved by her own example how one person is able to change long-term stereotypes that beautiful clothes are created only for slender girls. Now the world of real fashion is available for all body types, heights, and weights. Women can get the perfect dress to replace their boring stock clothes and look stylish. Ethnic style has never left fashion, and the VALA brand has made it more modern but stylish and elegant.

The company has gone through many stages on the way to its success and is now popular around the world. The main advice for novice designers is to believe in yourself and realize your ideas. These are highly spiritual people who see the world in their own way and want to show others their views by expressing them in clothes. You also need to communicate more and get to know your user audience, its problems, wishes, and dreams.

Not only young and slim girls want to look great, middle-aged and older women also want to wear beautiful things. The difference in height and figure should not cause complexes and make women closed and aloof. VALA is against wishes of women hiding certain figure flaws under shapeless clothes. Other fashion houses should not be limited to generally accepted standards; make clothes for everyone, and you will be in demand. 

Communicate with the audience, offering it more variety. Style and quality are also important. Each designer is a creator, sculptor, and artist who creates authentic clothes. And there are many people who will like your direction. VALA showed that fashion is not only epic, bold, and rebellious; it is naturalness, luxury, and comfort. Women should not forget about their natural beauty, and designers should create something unique that will emphasize the individuality of each lady.

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Ksenia Sobchak

Ksenia Sobchak, BA (Hons) Fashion Communication: Fashion Journalism, Central Saint Martins

Ksenia Sobchak enjoys blogging on fashion, style, lifestyle, love and CBD areas. Prior to becoming a blogger, Ksenia worked for a renowned fashion brand. Ksenia is a contributing author to leading fashion, lifestyle and CBD magazines and blogs. You can bump into Ksenia at her favourite cafe in South Kensington where she has written most blogs. Ksenia is a staunch advocate of CBD and its benefits to people. Ksenia is also on the panel of CBD reviewers at CBD Life Mag and Chill Hempire. Her favourite form of CBD are CBD gummies and CBD tinctures. Ksenia is a regular contributor at leading fashion, lifestyle as well as CBD magazines and blogs.

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