A Ukrainian Man’s thoughts about the Current Situation in His Country
Russia's all-out invasion of Ukraine began on February 24th.
How do people in Ukraine feel and live their lives as the war situation worsens by the minute? What does it mean for so many people to be displaced and lose their daily lives?
This time, with the introduction of a long customer living in Ukraine, we asked Mr. Danila, who runs a boutique in Kyiv, about the details of life and evacuation after the war.
In this article, we would like to introduce the author, Mr. Danila, and ask him about the situation in Ukraine and his current life.
We will continue to publish this series on an irregular basis.
After working in the fashion industry for over 10 years as a stylist, а buyer, and а consultant, he opened his own concept store, Anthology, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
The store offers artisanal menswear, shoes, accessories, and fragrances by Guidi, Ziggy Chen, Forme D'Expression, Uma Wang, Hender Scheme, Boris Bidjan Saberi, and others.
Based in FASCINATE, where she works in the store as a salesperson and also as a media editor.
「I thought my days would start out the same as always.」
Mr. Danila, who spoke with us this time.
--- Thank you for speaking with us this time.
What is the situation in Kyiv now? Please tell us the current state of the city.
The situation has changed.
Russian troops have started to move out. And some people started coming back to the city. But still, it looks like a ghost town.
Lots of block posts. Most of the monuments are covered with sandbags.
Many streets are blocked. We've also got a curfew. So the city feels depressed.
--- Are your family and friends safe?
My father is living in a village where the battles were very hard and subversive.
For almost 2 weeks he has been in the basement without heating, electricity, and connection. The explosion hit his house and car.
So he's been forced to move with 3 dogs and 2 cats in a car with a glass partially destroyed by the rocket fragments.
Now he is in Kyiv. Luckily my father wasn't hurt as much as people in Bucha or in other totally destroyed cities and villages.
At the moment I'm just happy that we did everything possible to evacuate him on time, and that he's safe.
Evacuated with only the bare minimum of belongings, life remains uncertain to this day.
--- How is your day to day life now?
I'm trying to keep up with physical exercises in the morning.
I am checking the news. Then, trying to solve questions regarding the store.
We still have things to solve. For example, our rent and orders, and I'm trying to build any strategy I can to save the store during the war.
Also, I'm working on a few new projects. Part of them are charitable and are supposed to be run abroad. Hopefully, I'll be able to launch them concerning the circumstances.
--- Where and what were you doing when the Russian invasion began?
Sleeping. We were having dinner the night before and even had a conversation about it. Nobody believed it.
So when it started, we woke up and started checking the news.
Danila's photo of Kyiv today. The real situation of the war is clearly shown.
--- When the Russian invasion started, how did the town and people around you react?
They all panicked.
After the first explosions, I heard a siren for the first time in my life, and to be honest, I was frustrated.
People started to pack because they understood that war has begun. Others have been asking how they can help.
Also, many people went into the military forces.
--- How has your life and people's situation changed since the war started?
We all are in a temporary mode.
That means that most of our surroundings are temporary.
Things that we were doing for our work, things that we were doing daily, and even something that we bought in the supermarket was temporary.
It's difficult to know what you will do next week. That's the easiest way to describe changes.
The boutique-lined streets are now closed and deserted.
--- How did you learn about the previous war when you were a child or at school?
I've always been interested in history. So I've read a lot about it. Here in Ukraine, it's been one of the most essential subjects of historical studies.
Even children are informed about it. But I've also been trying to study it from different angles (west and east literature).
--- Do you have anything you want to say or have a message you want others to know about the current situation in Ukraine or about the war?
We are shocked here.
We all see now how one country can break most international and humanitarian laws.
And keep lying and fooling their population. It's crazy how big the amount of these lies is due to how global and connected the world is now.
It looks like a George Orwells book monument. We can't understand how it's possible.
But on the other hand, I'm touched by how people are united and how they are involved in helping each other.
We hope this cruel crime against humanity will end soon because we see what is right and what is wrong. And this is quite a forgotten feeling.
「Kiev is a place where the contrast between past memories and present life remains strong」
The inside of Danila's shop.
--- Please tell me about yourself, Danila-san.
We understand that you live in Kyiv now. Where were you born?
I was born in the last part of the Soviet Union.
It's a small town in the Ural mountains. To be exact, it's a military base my father worked at.
--- What kind of place is Kyiv?
I grew up and lived in Kyiv most of my life. So for me, it's a city that has been changing.
It's full of contrasts between the past and the present, with nostalgia for my childhood and about the people who've been here before.
--- Until now, you have been working in various jobs related to fashion, such as assistant, stylist, buyer, consultant, and store manager.
Can you please tell us more in detail about these jobs?
I've started working as an assistant in a department store (that no longer exists).
It was a classic luxury place where I built my retail and service knowledge. Then I started to look for something more conceptual and avant-garde.
Soon, I became the store director and the buyer for a new avant-garde place. We've been working with Rick Owens, Boris Bidjan Saberi, Julius, Haider Ackermann, and many others.
We've built a place with a strong concept but the crisis of 2014, which cаme after the revolution, has hit us critically. And we had to close the store within one year.
During that period, I also started to work as a stylist with some stars, public figures, and private clients.
Sometimes it's a very interesting challenge to build someone's image.
At the same time, I've been doing creative consulting, transferring my avant-garde experience to other business areas.
The inside of Danila's shop.
--- What made you decide to open a shop?
I believe in artisanal clothing. And I've seen a free niche in the local market.
My experience gave me an opportunity to develop the store in a very short period of time and to put it on the fashion map of Kyiv.
--- ou said in your introduction, "When I started running my shop, the concept was to move in the opposite direction, to try to go out from classical commercial rules." why did you decide to do so?
It's challenging to sell products that are so extravagant.
So you are trying to create exclusivity. Privacy, no advertising, no seasonal discounts.
All these steps may seem suicidal to a regular retail store.
But in the case of Anthology, it shows a lot of personal touch and respect to the customer and also to the brands.
So our archive is our asset.
The inside of Danila's shop.
--- On what basis do you choose what brands to deal with?
I've got my own rules.
First of all, when it is possible to combine items of a brand from present and past seasons.
I like when there is a "continuity". So, in this case, the customer becomes like a collector.
A high level of quality and visual harmony is necessary.
--- What made you interested in fashion?
It is hard to say…
I've been interested in clothing since my childhood. I was charmed by the outfits and gear of heroes and movie characters.
During my teenage years, I understood that fashion was kind of like a combination of science, art, craft, and the trading industry.
--- What kind of place was the shop for you?
It's like a home.
To be honest, I've spent more time in the store than at home.
The inside of Danila's shop.
--- What kind of customers did you get when your store was running?
Actually, they have been the same customers for many years since our first concept store.
Also, my private clients with whom I've worked before.
More or less, those are the same customers from all over the world, they are people who are free and successful and have special requests for details in their lifestyle.
--- What kind of place is the shop?
Let's say it's more like a space for the community.
It's very special in the case of the interior, and it is also completely private.
You need to find a bell button on the door, and only then you may enter.
--- Danila, thank you for your time in this difficult situation.
We would like to support you as much as we can.
This article will continue to be published on an irregular basis.