ANOESES, a Ukrainian brand inspired by eroticism, has teamed up with the NGO KyivPride to create a social project that draws attention to the importance of supporting the LGBTIQ+ community in Ukraine and the courage to be oneself. The project includes six interviews with LGBTIQ+ people about their experiences of living in Ukraine, fighting for their rights, volunteering, and supporting Ukraine during the war.
The limited collection of custom leather accessories created in collaboration with artist Nikita Hudzovskyi became the material embodiment of the project’s idea. The collection includes a bracelet, mask, harness, corset, choker, and lingerie set, all created in black leather with visual and textual images hand-painted in white. This idea arose from the image of the dark essence of war that took away bright colours from people’s lives. According to the artist, every person who stayed in Ukraine during the war is capable of expressing a full range of emotions with minimal means. “This capsule collection is dedicated to our tireless struggle for human rights, for the opportunity to love anyone, anywhere, without hiding it in the future. This is an active message from Ukraine that very soon our lives will return to the full spectrum of rainbow colours, and we will be able to feel everything at 101% again,” shared the artist Nikita Hudzovskyi.
The social project aims to spread awareness and social acceptance of the LGBTIQ+ community in Ukraine. Despite the fact that Ukrainian society has become significantly more tolerant in recent years, LGBTIQ+ individuals still face discrimination and prejudice. The slogan of the collaboration, #WEAREFREEDOM, reflects the importance of openness, honesty, freedom, and strength in Ukrainian society, which is currently fighting its most important battle on multiple fronts – social, political, and historical. “Anoeses has always espoused the values of inclusivity. We launched this project with KyivPride to once again remind people of the power, freedom, and love that come with accepting oneself and others. Every day in our communication and initiatives like Anoeses x KyivPride, we transmit our dedication to the belief that there is no future world without tolerance. The need for this belief is particularly evident against the backdrop of the military events in Ukraine. When a homophobic future no longer exists, and the foundation of tolerance and equality must be laid irrevocably,” comments the Anoeses team.
“From the first day of the full-scale invasion, KyivPride has stood alongside the Ukrainian LGBTIQ+ community. We organize fundraisers for the military, and events in Kyiv, provide psychological and humanitarian aid and represent Ukraine in Europe and around the world at marches and parades during pride season. The Equality March in Ukraine is impossible due to the Russo-Ukrainan war, so we use international events to draw attention to our struggle. We demand weapons for Ukraine and shout that Russia is a terrorist state. In our rainbow, there are currently two colours – blue and yellow. Together with Anoeses, we want to show that Russia took away our pride marches, but it won’t take away our pride and our desire to live in a free and sovereign state. We see this project as an opportunity to demonstrate our strength and determination and to contribute to a new way of winning. Glory to Ukraine!” says Edward Reesе, communications coordinator of NGO KyivPride.
The project’s heroes, voices, and faces are blogger Monroe, activist Vlad, stylist Yevhen, designer and model Angelina, volunteer Ivan, musician Sasha, and artist-animator Luli. In the interviews, each of them shared their personal stories of self-acceptance, relationships with society, bullying, active social positions, and their own views on the concepts of freedom, courage, beauty, and love.
The social project will be available online on the Anoeses website. 25% of the proceeds from the sale of the capsule collection will be donated to KyivPride to support their advocacy and community initiatives.
Artworks – Nikita Hudzovskyi
Clothes & accessories – Anoeses
Photo – Alina Chopenko
Video – Vlad Lytvyniuk
Interviews – Maria Mokhova
Project idea & communication – white rabbit agency