During the last Ukrainian Fashion Week held on February 3-6 in Kyiv, DZHUS presented their latest collection titled “Pseudo”. Usually following the event, the brand gets ready to showcase the collection in the showroom in Paris. Instead, a few weeks later, the war in Ukraine began and the team found themselves faced with the very different reality of hiding in a bomb-shelter, making the Autumn/Winter 2022 collection the last one release before the war.
Words by Fernanda Russomano
Known for its multi-purpose clothing and accessory pieces with unique shapes and innovative and transformable cuts, the conceptual brand was founded in 2010 by Ukrainian designer and stylist Irina Dzhus alongside her husband and business partner Anatolii Elgert. Now mostly working between Warsaw, Paris and Berlin, Irina managed to leave Ukraine with her pets but had to leave her husband behind due to the country’s decree of martial law, prohibiting men to leave the national territory. In March 2022, Zoot interviewed the designer on her journey since the beginning of the war and her story can be found here.
Mixing avant-garde concepts with a utilitarian style, the brand has been vegetarian-friendly since the beginning, using only cruelty-free materials and focusing on a more ethical manufacturing process for their products. This key value of the brand is what won DZHUS the Cruelty-free Fashion prize at the most prestigious fashion awards in Ukraine, the Best Fashion Awards, in 2019.
For its latest collection, DZHUS offers a line of unified wardrobe items that symbolizes duality through the metamorphosis of clothing and accessories. Beginning with exaggeratedly structured silhouettes, the pieces transform from abstract-escapist ‘cocoons’ into different-looking pieces upon detaching a few parts, or once interior elements are extracted. This transformable design concept allows for radical transformations: what seems at first glance to be one single piece demonstrates various ways of using seemingly basic items.
From elements that can be zippered and tied in different ways, to single items that can be used as bags, hats and even tops, the collection is visual proof that “nothing is ever what it seems”. Pieces can go from simple-looking pants to dresses and skirts in a matter of seconds with easy adjustments, while a jumpsuit can have its sleeves taken off and used as bags or turned inside-out unveiling a different color piece.
With the war beginning just a few weeks after the official launch, the collection can be seen as a visual representation of unexpected changes. Focusing on the idea of transformation and dualism, the pieces represent the complete reimagination of the meaning of normal.
Currently DZHUS is still operating partly from Ukraine and partly from Poland, and 30% of the brand’s profits are donated to the Ukrainian army and animal rights organizations. More information about the brand can be found at irinadzhus.com.
All images courtesy of DZHUS.
PHOTO & VIDEO CREDITS
Photo: Alexey Ponomarev @pnmrvalexey
Video: Svetlana Symakova @sansasay
Styling: Irina Dzhus / DZHUS Style Studio @irina.dzhus
Music & sound design: EYIBRA @eyibra
Makeup & hair: Marina Reznick @reznick_m
Models: Agripina @xpiizantema / Firstline, Yulia Dzyhalenko @mangojuly
Styling assistants: Andrii Popov @popovandrii, Natalia Volkova @volkova__natasha_
Ethical footwear: House Martin @housemartin_footwear