Ukraine Fashion Designer Pivots From Couture to Bulletproof Vests to Aid in the Resistance Against Russia

Uzun Vitaliy's expertise lies in couture, but that didn't stop the Ukrainian fashion designer from shifting gears and focusing his production on thermal underwear and bulletproof vests to aid Ukraine’s defenders in their fight against Russia.

In peacetime, Ukrainian fashion designer Uzun Vitaliy creates couture for women and men. But with his country under attack from Russian forces, he’s started fashioning new kinds of attire: protective gear for his country’s defenders.

Vitaliy and his shop started making thermal underwear, to help their country’s defenders guard against the sometimes bitter spring temperatures in Ukraine. They soon expanded to something even more urgent: bulletproof vests. 

Vitaliy's Odessa-based team uses the same skills and tools for this new mode of production. There’s careful measuring and marking, cutting and sewing.

The result may not be as fetching some of their more stylish pieces and the colorway is limited to camo and black. 

But any one of the 2,500 or so bulletproof vests they’ve made may save a life.

Vitaliy says his shop will be making 1,500 to 2,000 vests a week.

The United Nations said hundreds of Ukrainian civilians and hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers have died since Russia began its invasion on Feb. 24. More than 4.1 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the start of the invasion, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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