Ukrainian Refugee’s Fashion Revolution Hits London: A Tale of Resilience and Style

From War-Torn Ukraine to London's High Streets: Yana Smaglo's Journey of Fashion, Courage, and Compassion

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Yana Smaglo’s Emergence: Ukrainian refugee Yana Smaglo launches her fashion brand ‘Nenya’ in London, showcasing resilience and entrepreneurial spirit amidst adversity.
  2. Support from Sook: Partnering with Sook, which provides flexible retail spaces, Yana brings her unique fashion collection from Leeds to London, extending her global client base.
  3. Inspiration Amidst Conflict: Despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Yana continues to source and support local industries, highlighting the resilience and quality of Ukrainian fashion craftsmanship.

The Rise of ‘Nenya’: A Story of Fashion and Fortitude

Just a year after its initial launch in Leeds, ‘Nenya’, a fashion brand started by Ukrainian refugee Yana Smaglo, is making a bold statement in the heart of London. Escaping the clutches of war and rebuilding a life and business in a foreign land, Yana’s journey epitomizes the resilience and creativity emerging from the most challenging circumstances.

London Calling: A New Chapter

The upcoming pop-up shop in Islington Square, supported by Sook – providers of flexible retail spaces – marks a pivotal moment for ‘Nenya’. This venture into one of London’s vibrant neighborhoods is not just a business expansion; it’s a story of triumph over tragedy. Yana Smaglo, exuding excitement and optimism, states, “I am so excited to be taking my collection to London, this really is a brilliant opportunity for me to raise the profile of both my brand and Ukrainian fashion. I can’t thank the team at Sook enough for their ongoing support and for giving me this amazing opportunity.”

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Sook’s Support: Paving the Path for Emerging Talents

John Hoyle, CEO of Sook, reflects on the collaboration with Yana: “We loved working with Yana last year, and this is another opportunity for her to showcase her new collection in London. It has been brilliant being able to be part of her journey and to support her, and we look forward to seeing her in Islington next week.” This partnership demonstrates Sook’s commitment to nurturing new talents and providing platforms for unique, experiential events.

Crafting Fashion with a Cause

Nenya’s fashion line isn’t just about style; it’s interwoven with stories of perseverance and the indomitable spirit of the Ukrainian people. Yana’s regular visits back to Ukraine to source her fashion range are testament to her dedication to supporting her homeland and its artisans. “Many of the fashion items are still cut by hand and the quality is very high,” she explains, highlighting the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into her collection.

The Harsh Reality Back Home

Yana’s narrative also sheds light on the current situation in Ukraine. Her description of life in Ukraine is poignant: “No one there has any plans for the future. The biggest plan is to survive till the end of the war… The prices grew 30-40%, sometimes 50%, and it’s really having an impact. I can’t imagine how people survive for an average salary there, so I want to do everything I still can to help people.” This stark reality serves as a backdrop to the elegance and beauty of her fashion line, making it not just a commercial endeavor but a mission with profound human and cultural implications.

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A Sneak Peek into the Pop-Up Shop

The Islington Square showcase, running from 23-29 October, will not only feature Yana’s latest collection but also symbolize the vibrant cultural exchange and the enduring spirit of the fashion industry. It’s a space where art, culture, and commerce intersect, creating an immersive experience for Londoners and visitors alike.

Beyond the Pop-Up: A Digital Window to ‘Nenya’

For those unable to visit the pop-up, Nenya’s essence and offerings are accessible online, connecting Yana’s extraordinary story and her exquisite fashion line with a global audience. This digital presence extends her reach beyond physical borders, echoing her journey from Ukraine to the UK, and now, to the world.


Wrapping Up

Yana Smaglo’s Nenya, from its inception in the adversity of war to its blossoming on the streets of London, is more than a fashion brand. It’s a beacon of hope, resilience, and unwavering human spirit. As Nenya continues to weave its narrative through fabric and style, it reminds us of the power of passion and the enduring strength of the human spirit amidst the darkest hours.


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