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Fashion brands show support to Ukraine and halt sales in Russia

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

3 Mar 2022

Business

Image: Pexels by Mathias P.R. Reding

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, pressure has been mounting on the fashion industry to do more to support the country and to cut off their Russian revenue streams.

Vogue Ukraine is urging major fashion companies to place an embargo on Russia as luxury goods have not yet been included in international sanctions.

"In the wake of unprecedented military aggression from the Russian Federation and growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Vogue UA urges all international fashion and luxury conglomerates and companies to cease any collaborations on the aggressor’s market effective immediately," the publication wrote on Instagram.

It added: “These measures should apply to the brands and other entities that produce and also distribute and sell fashion goods, accessories, fine jewellery and watches, luxury lifestyle products in the Russian market.

“Showing your conscience and choosing humanity over monetary benefits is the only reasonable stand one can take in confronting the violent behaviour of Russia.”

Vogue Ukraine urges embargo on fashion and luxury goods to Russia

YNAP, which owns Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter, Yoox and The Outnet, were one of the first to stop shipping to Russia, stating that all orders would be “suspended until further notice,” while Balenciaga became one of the first Paris Fashion Week brands to its show support to Ukraine by clearing its Instagram feed and dedicating it to channels to sharing reports on the war.

“We stand for peace and donated to WFP (the World Food Programme) to support first humanitarian help for Ukrainian refugees,” said Balenciaga on Instagram. “We will open our platforms in the next days to report and relay the information around the situation in Ukraine.”

This then led to other designers, retailers and suppliers stepping away from Russia and donating to charities to support Ukrainian refugees, including H&M, Asos, John Lewis, Kurt Geiger, Ganni, Nike, Boohoo, and Nanushka.

H&M Group temporarily pauses all sales in Russia

H&M Group, which includes H&M, Cos, Monki, Weekday, & Other Stories, and Arket, has announced that it is “deeply concerned about the tragic developments in Ukraine and stand with all the people who are suffering”.

In a show of support, H&M Group said that it was temporarily pausing all sales in Russia and had already closed its stores in Ukraine due to the safety of customers and colleagues.

“The situation is continuously monitored and evaluated. Representatives of the company are in dialogue with all relevant stakeholders,” added H&M Group.

The fashion group also joined calls for peace and said that it would be donating clothes and other necessities to those in need. H&M Foundation has also made donations to Save the Children and to UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency).

Ganni freezes all trade with Russia

Danish contemporary brand Ganni showed its support for Ukraine with a statement for peace on its social media while adding that it would be donating to help refugees and freezing all trade with Russia, with immediate effect.

“At Ganni, we stand for peace,” said Ditte Reffstrup, creative director at Ganni. “As a company we are aligning with international sanctions and are freezing all trade with Russia. On behalf of both Ganni and our founders Ditte and Nicolaj Reffstrup we are donating 100.000 DKK to the Danish Refugee Council who are currently on the ground in Ukraine, supporting their efforts to save lives and provide emergency relief and protection for those affected by the conflict. We stand in solidarity with all our teams and communities across nationalities in this dark time.”

Nanushka stands in solidarity with the citizens of Ukraine

Hungarian brand Nanushka took to its social media to tell its fans that it was “pausing its business arrangements” with Russia, which it added was “an essential action” during the current situation.

“This decision is not against our Russian clients, or friends, but a stand against the invasion of Ukraine,” added Nanushka. “Our action commits to cease delivery of orders placed and unfulfilled, and to temporarily take no further orders from our Russian partners.”

The brand went on to explain further, saying: “Nanushka’s founder and creative director, Sandra Sandor, was born while Hungary was still under a Socialist political system. Sandor therefore has a close understanding of, and emotional connection to, today’s crisis. We have chosen to use our platform to draw further attention to the crisis and to provide support.”

The fashion brand is also partnering with Hungarian charity Order of Malta, which is providing accommodation, food, clothing, and transport to and in Budapest for those seeking shelter as they leave Ukraine. It also added that it would be introducing a programme to support members of the fashion industry in Ukraine to maintain their businesses.

LVMH and Kering make donations to humanitarian charities

French luxury conglomerate LVMH Group has made an emergency contribution of 5 million euros to support the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to help the direct and indirect victims of the conflict in Ukraine.

“The LVMH Group is closely monitoring the tragic situation in Ukraine and stands alongside all those severely affected by this war,” said the luxury conglomerate in a statement. “The Group’s first concern is the safety of its 150 employees in Ukraine and is providing them with essential financial and operational assistance.”

LVMH also added that it would be “constantly tracking the situation” and will adapt its measures as needed. The luxury group also launched a fundraising campaign in support of the ICRC to facilitate the contributions of employees across the Group and its 76 Maisons.

While Kering, which includes Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, and Gucci, shared the word Peace in the blue and yellow colours of Ukraine on its social media, along with a statement that it was contributing to humanitarian efforts to bring aid and support to Ukrainian refugees.

Kering added that it would make a “significant donation” to the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugees Agency and added, “we hope for a peaceful resolution of this conflict”.

In addition, Gucci also donated 500,000 US dollars to the UNHCR.

Image: Pexels by Katie Godowski

Asos suspends sales in Ukraine and Russia

Online fashion retailer Asos has halted its operations in Ukraine and Russia stating that its priority is the safety of its colleagues and partners in the region.

“Asos has suspended sales in Ukraine as it became impossible to serve customers there,” explained the e-tailer in a statement. “Against the backdrop of the continuing war, Asos has decided to suspend sales to Russia.”

In FY21 Russia and Ukraine represented c.4 percent of Asos’ revenue and contributed approximately 20 million pounds to Group profit.

Boohoo Group closes Russian websites

Boohoo has suspended all sales to Russia and closed its Russian trading websites, due to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, Boohoo said I was “deeply concerned about the tragic developments in Ukraine,” and that following the invasion it decided to halt all trade with Russia.

Sales made by the Boohoo Group into Russia total less than 0.1 percent of Group revenues.

John Lewis, Kurt Geiger and Burberry support British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal

John Lewis Partnership has donated 100,000 pounds to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal and will match donations from customers and employees, up to an additional 150,000 pounds to support the people of Ukraine.

A statement from John Lewis Partnership chairman, Sharon White, on the brand’s website, said: "I am deeply distressed by the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine – innocent people losing their lives, their loved ones, their homes, and families being separated.

"The John Lewis Partnership is making a first donation of 100,000 pounds to the British Red Cross directly in support of their Ukraine Crisis Appeal. This will help provide food, water, medicine, warm clothing and shelter to those whose lives have been torn apart by this invasion."

While footwear retailer Kurt Geiger has donated 50,000 pounds, a week's store profits, to support the British Red Cross appeal to support Ukraine during this crisis.

Kurt Geiger chief executive, Neil Clifford, said in a statement: “We have always been ardent advocates of empathy, compassion and spreading kindness to those who need it most. Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians in need of financial, practical and emotional support. This is a situation of human suffering, and we believe we have a moral obligation to reach out and help in any way we can.

“In light of this human crisis, we will be donating 100 percent of last week's Kurt Geiger store profits to the sum of 50,000 pounds to the British Red Cross' Emergency Appeal which is currently working with the Ukrainian Red Cross Society and the International Committee of the Red Cross preparing to help those affected by the crisis."

Burberry also put its weight behind the British Red Cross to help provide urgent aid, food, warm clothes, and shelter to communities in desperate need.

The luxury brand said that it was donating to the cause and would also be matching any employee donations to charities supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

“These are incredibly difficult times for many people and our thoughts are with all those impacted by the crisis,” added Burberry.

Acne Studios places Russian activities on hold and makes donation

Scandinavian fashion brand Acne Studios announced that it was placing all its Russian activities on hold, in a show of support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Acne, which presented its autumn/winter 2022 collection during Paris Fashion Week, also added that it was donating 100,000 euros to UNHCR and UNICEF to provide humanitarian help to those in need and to support relief work in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries.

“We are following the developments carefully and are ready to further extend our support as the situation evolves,” added Acne Studios. “We encourage those who can to do the same.”

OTB to support Ukraine through UNHCR

Fashion conglomerate Only The Brave Foundation, which owns Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Viktor & Rolf, Amiri and Jil Sander, said it was supporting UNHCR with an undisclosed sum to help people and families forced to leave Ukraine to neighbouring countries due to the invasion from Russia.