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Locals: upcycled-streetwear from Poltava brand Tserkovnij

DTF Magazine’s Locals column features new and niche local brands. This time we present the Poltava brand Tserkovnij. It’s an upcycled streetwear brand that combines skate aesthetics and work uniforms, loose straight silhouettes and utilitarian fabrics.

About the brand

Sasha Tserkovnij got the idea to create his brand when he was in ninth grade and skateboarding in his native Myrhorod in 2015. He sold his first clothes in 2019 and that year is considered the year the Tserkovnij was founded.

«I didn’t begin to learn all the thorns of the light industry until my first year at uni, when I took a sewing course. After about a year and a half I sold my first clothes to a friend of mine, and everything went quietly. At this rate I was sewing to order, learning something there, and setting up a workshop in the next room for about a year and a half», Tserkovnij says.

The brand’s clothes can be divided into two lines: there are ready-made workwear (basic clothes) and custom-made clothes. The first includes shorts, jumpsuits, skirts, shirts and pants, and the second includes clothes made in the upcycled technique. For example, it includes an anorak and a patchwork jacket made of Levi’s jeans scraps, a kimono made of vintage and hand-painted fabrics.

About upcycling

Tserkovnij says that upcycling requires a lot of effort and resources. «I’m not going to lie: upcycling is not environmentally friendly and requires a lot of effort and resources. However, you feel that you are doing something important and valuable when you take clothes apart. Old clothes live again instead of rotting at someone’s cottage. I love upcycling and want to pay more attention to it. It expands the scope of possibilities, textures, materials. I love working with old clothes and tackling design issues as I go, based on what I have. And the range of fabrics in stores does not satisfy my desires».

About production and materials

Sasha himself is responsible for the entire process of creating upcycled clothing from the sketch to packaging, while his girlfriend Arina takes photos for the brand and takes care of the brand’s Instagram.

Sasha sews almost all of his basic clothes at the local atelier. But he makes the buttonholes himself, just as he sews the buttons: the production does not have the necessary equipment for this.

He searches for materials in second-hand shops and on OLX, and sometimes at fabric stores, where heaps of leftovers are sold in meter-long pieces. Sometimes the material is brought by the customer.

«I like to work more with natural coarse fabrics like canvas or denim. But cloak would not embarrass me either. I don’t want to limit myself, at least here. Now there’s a lot of tweed gathered, I want to do something new for myself».

About influence and philosophy

Sasha aspires to the level of Syndicate in the prêt-à-porter segment and calls it an example of a good established brand in the country. He singles out Universal Works, Engineered Garments and Carhartt WIP as brands that are close in style. He singles out Italian studio Menadito in the specialty segment because of the combination of textures, fabrics and shapes. He is also inspired by Viktor Dikasov, as «a local example of cool and high quality upcycling». He is also inspired by Junya Watanabe, Visvim, Kapital.

Tserkovnij says three things are important to him: there are family, the right to work, and the ability to choose.

«The combination of these values gives me a sense of personal freedom and the freedom to create. I would like to cast aside unnecessary tinsel and imposed hypocritical meanings and broadcast this idea through my clothes».

Where to buy

Clothes can be ordered online in Instagram, as well as offline. They are presented in «Kashtan» on Reitarska Street, 9b in Kyiv and in Utopia 8 in Odesa and Kharkiv. The website is also being prepared for launch.

Do you know a good Ukrainian brand? Tell us about it right now — [email protected]

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