The Zen of Fashion: Meet The Ukrainian Yohji Yamamoto, aka, Fashion Designer Irina Dzhus

Hi guys! Today you will witness a truly unique approach to fashion as we explore the curious couture of Ukrainian fashion designer, Irina Dzhus. Irina, who relocated from Kyiv to Poland recently after the Russian invasion, took refuge with a talented accessory designer friend of mine, Marcin Giebultowski, who you’ll be reading more about soon. Not only does Marcin have a huge heart, but he’s also wickedly stylish and an articulate individual. More on his accessories coming up. But today it’s all about the clothes. The most pure, linear, geometric pieces by Dzhus, Irina’s experimental eponymous label.Marcin aptly named Irina “The Ukrainian Yohji Yamamoto,” which I thought was such a keen observation. There is a kind of restraint, a minimalist aesthetic, that you will see clearly running throughout Irina’s work, which reveals itself in an austere palate of mostly black, white, or other like-minded neutrals such as slate, wheat, oyster and ecru. Irina does not feel the need to use color to express her vision, which is all about shapes, structures and textures. She said that she learned so much about the cultural and psychological implications of color that “now I don’t want to burden my designs, which are already complicated, with that huge legacy of colors,” she explained.

Similar to Yamamoto’s, Irina’s pieces are very Japanese, very architectural — the origami folds, the asymmetry, the interesting use of texture and opacity….the bold geometry at play. Just look at the pieces above and below, a revelation in grey matters. I love the charcoal palette and the clean simple lines of these garments, especially the clever envelope skirt above and the asymmetrical funnel-neck top above right, which are clearly well-crafted, like all of Irina’s couture pieces.

The dress above is so sleek and stark. I’m digging the shrunken sleeves and the restrained pleating. Love is in the details. The ethically-sourced fabrics are at-once playful and emotional: from double-faced cottons, to glossy silks to ribbed wools and crumpled organzas, Irina plays with opacity and texture.She has even created what I like to call morphing garments — pieces which transform themselves from one creation to the next. Avant garde sleeves morph into unique millinery, which morphs into oversized, geometric satchels. It’s quite experimental and a totally unique approach to fashion. This philosophy reflects the brand’s aspiration to fulfill a conscious approach to consumption, with emphasis on individual creativity. “Many of my garments are transformers…the angular shapes make it easy for the complex pieces to unzip and unfold, turning into very basic clothing, offering different style options for their owners. In my opinion, everything we use nowadays has to be functional, compact and mobile to help us cope with the crazy rhythm of the modern life,” Irina said.“The main ethical principle of my work is to fulfill only unique concepts that are worth production in our era of oversupply,” Irina stated. The entire line of Dzhus products are cruelty-free and vegetarian-friendly.

“The important message I want to deliver with my designs is the necessity of being humane and future-oriented in the modern reality. By producing cruelty-free fashions and communicating them to intelligent, independently-thinking audience I aim to prove that it is possible to look edgy and avant-garde, yet remain in peace and harmony with the universe,” she concluded.


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