Gunia Project: breathing contemporary life into Ukrainian craft

Gunia Project: breathing contemporary life into Ukrainian craft

17 November 2021

Fashion brand @gunia_project blends Ukrainian folklore and contemporary design. Using their signature pastel palette, the label creates and sells clothes and interior items, including glassware, elegant silk headscarves, and embroidered white collars, reminiscent of vintage school uniforms. One surprising series features ceramics with Christian Orthodox iconography, reinterpreted as naive art.

Gunia Project took its name from their first product: the traditional white or black, shaggy fur coats worn by the Hutsul people in the Carpathian mountains. While the traditional coat can weigh four kilos, the creative duo behind Gunia — Natasha Kamenska and Maria Gavryliuk — created their own, lighter version of the piece, making it suitable for modern, urban lifestyles.

Founded in 2017 as a hobby, Gunia Project has since evolved into a fashion and design brand that puts Ukrainian craftsmanship on the world map. “Before Gunia, I was working for a design brand where I felt like I was producing for the sake of production,” Kamenska tells me. “I wanted to make things with a thought behind them, objects I would want to give to a child.”

Now collaborating with dozens of craftsmen, Gunia Project’s artisans work across six countries, while the brand sells internationally via their website. And they have also become the go-to place for Ukrainian diplomats buying presents to give on trips abroad. One of the most illustrious figures to receive their ceramics as a gift is none other than Pope Francis. “We wanted to be the face of Ukraine for international delegations, to make objects that would tell something about our country and culture,” Gavryliuk explains. They have very much succeeded at it.

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