How Ukrainian clothing company Katimo reopened during the war
Katimo is an all-Ukrainian clothing company based in Kyiv, with facilities operating in the cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Poltava and Zhytomyr. After the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, production facilities in the occupied territories had to be temporarily closed. However, once Kyiv and Chernihiv regions were liberated and some operations moved to safer areas in western Ukraine, Katimo reopened. Production of the brand’s new pro-Ukrainian line began on March 1.
“Fashion is the voice of the times. This collection is my way of telling the world about Ukraine and showing how strong and free our country is,” said co-founder Katya Tymoshenko. “Trouble knocked on our door, but we found strength in weakness, our fear became courage and our despair became unity. Our mission is both important and vital. We want the women who wear Katimo to keep love and hope alive in their hearts. We want to give them a sense of faith in a bright future. That’s why today at Katimo, no matter what, we keep doing what we do the best: to create beautiful clothes.
Once the mostly female team of seamstresses, designers, showroom managers and operations staff were safe, Katimo co-founders and husband-wife team Katya Timoshenko and Vitaliy Panov took over. decision to restart operations. Their main priority has been to support the company in order to pay staff salaries and support the Ukrainian economy. Since March 1, 2022, Katimo has donated 100% of website sales from past collections and 20% of all revenue to charitable funds that support the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other local causes.
After founding Katimo with her husband in 2015, Timoshenko managed to make the brand a brand loved by many women in Ukraine. All collections are carefully produced in the heart of kyiv by a predominantly female team.
“With the start of the war, life suddenly stopped,” says Timoshenko. “Yet the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people has given Katimo employees the strength to resume operations and continue working for a happy future for our country. Created in times of war – to the sound of sirens and the threat of missile attack – the new Spring/Summer collection has become a symbol of purity, inviolability of spirit and future victory for our nation. .
An important part of this collection is symbolism. Some accessories are made in the form of snowdrop flowers, representing the victory of good over evil. Some products are adorned with pins adorned with natural stones, as Ukrainians traditionally believe that they bring good luck and protection from evil spirits.
“The most important aspect of our work is the categorical rejection of even the thought of a possible collapse of the independent state of Ukraine,” says Timoshenko. “Russia’s attack on our country is a call to action. We must not break in the face of evil. War has no right to deprive a person of his life, his family, his home and the possibility of being happy. We must continue to live our best lives.
To other entrepreneurs facing war or environmental disaster in their home countries, Timoshenko offers this advice. “We only become stronger by overcoming difficulties and fear. Any crisis should be seen as a springboard to reach even greater heights. From day one of Katimo, we encountered various obstacles along the way. We bypassed some of them, and some faced us head-on. Don’t be afraid to fall.
On how best Americans can support Ukrainians right now, Timoshenko says, “We want the whole world to realize that this war is not just ours – it’s a war of the whole world. Right now, a new story is being written, values are changing, and a new approach to world order is forming. Ukraine remains at the forefront of the battle for a better life for many countries. Therefore, we call on everyone to help Ukraine carry out this mission. Talk about it on your social media pages. Organize and participate in rallies in support of Ukraine. Donate money to Ukrainian charity funds. We must all work together to win this war and have a better future. Not just for Ukraine, but for the world.