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Kyiv brand Anoeses: ‘Customers feel empowered when they wear our clothes’

‘To give people a motive to erotic self-exploration’ — that’s how married couple Kostya and Katya Savvopulo formulated the brand’s mission when they launched Anoeses in 2018.

The brand translates this idea not only in leather and latex items, but also in its Anoeses Education platform. There you can learn, among other things, how to find a connection with your inner dominatrix, read tips on sexting, and how to have a positive experience from visiting an erotic store.

The Ukrainian brand’s clothes are also chosen by international stars. Julia Fox in a latex skirt starred for ES Magazine, Charlie XCX came to Saturday Night Live 2021 wearing a leather bra, and Madonna wore an Aria corset at NYC Pride in the summer of 2022 and other Anoeses items in the Frozen Remix music video.

Anoeses also has a social mission: for example, the latest collaboration, Anoeses x KyivPride, created in collaboration with artist Nikita Gudzovsky, aims to ‘spread awareness and promote social acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community in Ukraine’. The project included six interviews with LGBTQIA+ representatives about how they fight for their rights and how they support Ukraine during the war.

DTF Magazine talked to brand co-founder Kostya Savvopulo about the sustainability of latex and slow-fashion trends that the brand uses, as well as about breaking stereotypes on BDSM-community and censorship in social networks

‘There are still many stylists who are genuinely surprised when they contact us and find out that we are from Ukraine’

Anoeses founders, Kostya and Katya Savvopulo

— Before you founded Anoeses, you opened a showroom with Ukrainian kink-inspired brands. What kind of project was it and which brands were represented?

— We positioned the S39 showroom as an erotic space where we sold handmade accessories and displayed paintings by Ukrainian artists, such as Hanna Kozyrieva (the artist works, in particular, in the genre of erotic realism. — Note from DTF Magazine). It was created so that people (especially those who are already interested) could get acquainted with the variety of erotic games.

— Why did you decide to switch to your brand?

— Together with Katya, we wanted to implement our aesthetic ideas and think through the functionality down to the last detail. So we decided to dictate our own rules of the game in our own production. Soon we noticed the demand for the originality of our plans. That’s how the life of Anoeses began.

— In one interview you said that most of the workers in Anoeses production are men. Why?

— Yes, in the leather industry most of the workers are men, but in the latex and textile industries it’s a mix in which most of the workers are women.

— Since the foundation of the brand you have been selling items online and have been targeting an international audience. Now you have an offline store in Kyiv, and the brand is also represented in stores in Australia, the USA, Canada, the Netherlands and Germany. Why did you decide to open offline stores?

— Offline stores are one of the most important points of contact with customers and a planned step in the development of our company. Almost all fashion brands want people to be able to touch and try on items. We are no exception, plus people want to immerse themselves emotionally in the eroticism of Anoeses.

Latex and leather items, such as corsets, are not often encountered in everyday life. This is why it is important to get to know the material in person before buying.

Anoeses showroom in Kyiv

Latex is a capricious material that is not easy to put on and not everyone can like how tightly it fits to the body. Consequently, you have to try it. It’s the same with leather. It has its own weight, smell and quality, so it is very important that a person can understand whether it suits him/her or not, as well as feel the value of the item and its quality.

Anoeses leather accessories

— After February 24, some foreign stylists and stars chose Ukrainian brands: using this fashion language, they expressed their support for Ukraine during the war. Your brand’s clothes were worn by international stars even before the full-scale invasion. But have you noticed an increase in demand after February 24, precisely because you are a Ukrainian brand?

— We received many words of support from our customers who knew we were from Ukraine.

In general, since 2021, Anoeses began to make active steps to cooperate with Western fashion influencers, stylists and bloggers. As the brand’s recognition grew, the demand from celebrity stylists and stars gradually increased.

For example, Madonna received our items before the full-scale invasion, and cooperation with her was planned without the context like ‘support us because we are a Ukrainian brand’.

Although the website and all social networks indicate where we are from, there are still many stylists who are genuinely surprised when they contact us and find out that we are from Ukraine. So it is difficult to answer this question unambiguously. Demand is primarily formed by our designs, product quality, aesthetics and visual positioning.

Julia Fox in Anoeses clothing

Madonna in the Anoeses corset

‘We realized a long time ago that if we impose something on someone, it would just be a waste of energy’

— During the full-scale war you were moving production to Ivano-Frankivsk. On the one hand, I understand that you are targeting a more progressive and open-minded audience, but on the other hand, there is an article that contains reactions of people to the post of mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk, who supported the relocation of your brand. These comments, to put it mildly, are not very friendly. What do you think about it?

— We realized a long time ago that if we impose something on someone, it would just be a waste of energy. And we were ready for such comments, because we know that sexual experience is a deeply personal story, and everyone has the right to have their own.

There is also one principle that supports the success of people and companies — you need to listen to reasoned criticism based on objective experience, not emotional coloring. The comments in this article were emotional outbursts. It’s interesting to watch.

— What kind of reaction does your brand get from people who happen to see it?

— Most of the time it’s like wow, astounding! Because people don’t always understand that eroticism doesn’t have to be vulgar. There’s never been a time when I’ve shown our work and the person ran away screaming.

Anoeses latex line

‘The kinky community is almost the first community on the planet that began with the culture of consent’

— Let’s talk about your educational platform Anoeses Education. Who runs it, are there any experts, sexologists, or should it be perceived as a lifestyle blog?

— Our platform with digital products is the team’s idea, and the educational materials are created by experts.

Our writer, who has a deep interest and develops her expertise in the topic of sex education, leads the Anoeses Education social media. In order to maintain interest, you have to be deeply immersed in the habits, worldviews of the kinky community, to understand and have the nature of such fantasies. We are currently actively developing communication with sexologists and BDSM experts who verify and help us research the topics we publish.

— How do you think such informational initiatives help to break down stereotypes about the BDSM community? Have you noticed changes for the better in the last five years? In what ways have these changes manifested themselves?

— Yes, they help. The biggest stereotype is that BDSM is unhealthy and can be equated with rape. The first thing to note is that the kinky community is almost the first community on the planet that began with a culture of consent where only ‘yes’ means ‘yes’. Silence is not consent. No is not a way of making yourself worthwhile through inaccessibility. As you can see, there’s a gulf between what is real and what people are able to make up in order to intimidate themselves.

The biggest change is seen in self-awareness. Such informational initiatives help people ask questions. What do I like and what don’t I like? What pleases and what repulses me? People need to explore their sexuality, and kinky or not kinky — it’s just their personal sexual fixations.

Anoeses latex line

Anoeses leather accessories

‘We don’t have the goal of creating direct associations between all of our products and kinky practices’

— If we’re talking about your casual-kink line, what kind of audience is it aimed at? Is it aimed at a more mainstream audience?

— We developed it and are developing it for people who love edgy clothing styles. Now when we see a celebrity in a provocative and erotic outfit on almost every red carpet, the casual-kink style is becoming mainstream.

— Latex clothing and leather total look, especially in fashion, have moved away from the connection and association with the kinky community and even more so with BDSM. You have a casual-kink line, but it still seems that the overall philosophy of the brand revolves around BDSM. Why do you want to bring back or popularize that association again, but in your more aesthetic vision?

— BDSM items were our first products whose motive was to help explore sexual pleasure. When we expanded the range, the message ‘Explore!’ remained a part of our philosophy.

But our aesthetic has always been erotic, not BDSM. Eroticism is not the same as sex, although the nature of the latter is inseparable from the former.

Anoeses latex clothing and underwear

We don’t have the goal of creating direct associations between all of our products and kinky practices. That connection exists only with the functionality of our bondage sets.

— Your brand conducted experiments with couples who were photographed wearing Anoeses clothing and talking to a sexologist, and afterwards they opened up even more to themselves and to each other. Do you plan to continue doing something like this?

— We’d really like to keep doing this! And while we’re on the subject… Reader, if you’re interested in exploring the nature of your sexual fantasies, get in touch with us! You can send us a Direct Message on our Instagram page or email us at [email protected].

Anoeses Sexperiment project

— How do you think clothes can help people learn and become more open to the perception of their own bodies?

— We learned from our latest market research that customers are more likely to feel empowered by wearing our clothes. We’re very proud because that’s the way it was intended, so our plans are congruent with reality.

Why empowered? Because it is impossible to feel real power and confidence when you are ashamed of your body. The body is a gift and an inseparable part of you. And if clothes make you feel seductive, then there is nothing left but to enjoy that feeling: being in your own body.

Design partner —
Development — Mixis