Have you always been interested in projects that have a clear social cause – whether that be sustainability or supporting the arts in crisis?
I’ve felt that I will do social work all my life, but I thought that I would start when I was much older – when I have more time and more experience – because you need to be experienced and very well aware of the landscape to help people. But the war changed everything completely. Bettter.Community is about helping people on one hand, but on the other hand, I think that this is actually a very modern way of creating anything: when you gather people together, when you share facilities, when you share economic units, when you share contacts, legal information, anything like that. Designers are changing the way they work right now. They have changed the way they communicate with other designers – it used to be competitive and people were not really happy to help each other. I’m always happy to see new ways of business, new ways of communication, and new ways of media building, where you can be honest and direct with your messages.
“The moguls of the creative industries have to be open. They have to reconsider old patterns and how they used to work and be really open to discovering Ukrainian talent.” – Julie Pelipas
How important is it that the international creative community hires Ukrainian creatives?
This is the crucial point and this is something I feel like we will struggle with a lot in the near future. What I see from inside the fashion industry at least is that Russians are very rooted in the industry. And we’re at the moment right now where people are reconsidering the war situation and they don’t want to destroy their connections with Russia completely so they slip back to being neutral. People are not as willing to give support because they’re tired. War actually affected everyone economically and mentally on all levels. When we try to get help for designers and creatives, I feel a bit sad to be asking and begging, knocking on doors so many times, to get something. And it’s not something big, it’s just something that they can allocate. This is the brutal reality right now. But I’m always a very optimistic person. And I always believe if there is talent, if there is genius, it will find a way to get the place it deserves.
But the very important message is that the moguls of the creative industries have to be open. They have to reconsider old patterns and how they used to work and be really open to discovering Ukrainian talent. Not in the sense of them being victims, but in the sense that their work is really cool. And what I know for sure is that Ukrainians are very hard-working, and they’re very responsible. When I represent them, I’m always sure that they will bring the best results. And I’m always trying to put forward the message that it would be an amazing evolution of the fashion industry to stop only working with people they know; their friends, their family, their lovers, boyfriends, et cetera. When they open the door for younger people, even if they don’t have any big brands in their portfolios and they just consider them for their talent, that will be amazing.