It was during Paris’ fashion week in 2015, that Vita Kin was originally featured in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar for introducing vyshyvankas to modern fashion design. Until then and even now, she has primarily advertised her designs through her Instagram account, where she showcases her take on traditional Ukrainian design painted in a contemporary context. Although Vita has the opportunity based on the amount of interest in her work to expand and outsource other factories, she insists that she isn’t interested in chasing after quick results and would never sacrifice the quality of her work. She would rather invest her time in creating pieces that she feels are the best she can offer, even if it is labor intensive.
Vyshyvankas are essentially a traditional Ukrainian shirt or garment that is embroidered, and throughout history have been used as a ‘talisman’ to protect the person wearing it. The embroidery was first implemented in vulnerable places on the garment where evil spirits could potentially enter the body, which is why the neckline, cuffs, shoulders, and back are areas that have been prominently decorated in history. There are also some Slavic traditions that state the intricate blouses were passed through generations and only worn on special occasions.
There is a definitive grace that comes from each of Vita Kin’s designs, and this is partially due to the heritage of the brand’s roots, as well as the production methods they employ. Each garment is essentially created by hand with the help of equipment that Vita herself retrofitted to aid her unique approach to embroidery. Although some may say the embroidery is created by the machine, there are enormous amounts of manual effort that go into each piece. Items are created over the course of three weeks, often using over 100 meters of thread, with expert precision from those operating the machines. Each pattern is programmed by an experienced operator and adjusted over time to produce embroidery designs that are as authentic as possible. The assembly of each garment from the sleeves to the collars and cuffs are done by hand, according to age-old methods used by their Ukrainian ancestors.
Vita Kin operates differently from most fashion designers. While most produce work designed specifically for Spring / Summer and Fall / Winter seasons, they operate based on their current inspirations and produce work according to the stores they have chosen to partner with. In addition, they take inquiries about past designs and will often replicate those if asked. Interestingly enough, this means that no two stores that offer Vita Kin will have a selection that is entirely the same. This also creates a journey of constant discovery when looking at Vita Kin’s designs.
From design to production, Vita Kin is laser-focused on creating work with embroidery and appliqué that is extremely artistic and personal. Although her designs are based in her Ukrainian ancestry, she also takes inspiration from other sources like Aztec embroidery and the Guatemalan’s use of color, all of which culminates in clothing that conveys a deeper connection.