Light Will Win Over Darkness – RMCAD fashion designer shares the story behind her new collection

Inspiration can come in several forms, but for Svitlana Pugh’s newest collection, it was sparked by current events happening in Ukraine, where she is originally from. As a senior in RMCAD’s fashion design program, Pugh is participating in RMCAD’s annual Fashion Showcase, happening on September 17, where she will be accommodated by eight other senior designers as well as select underclassmen. Each senior is able to choose their own creative direction, which led Pugh to focus on shining a light in the darkness. Read more about her collection and her journey as a fashion designer!

Can you expand on the inspiration behind your collection and its message?
The inspiration for this collection, Light Will Win Over Darkness, came from current events happening in Europe, specifically the war between Russia and Ukraine. I am originally from Ukraine and was raised in Ukrainian literature, which was filled with centuries of people struggling for independence and democracy. I wanted to show my hope that “light will win over darkness” with this collection.

What does your collection look like? Who is the collection intended for?
This collection is intended for children and is gender neutral. Silhouettes are layered, warm, functional and sharp. Children are the future of the country – they are light and hope. Many families have been torn apart in this war, and there is no answer on whether mothers and children will unite back with their fathers. My six final looks show solid and independent children covered in layers of fabric with an intent to protect them. Each piece incorporates a different character in the story. For example, I have a dark knight with a wolf embroidery, who is the symbol of old Russia, and then I have a fun look for the light knight.

What is your biggest strength as a designer?
One thing that makes me different is that I am very much a perfectionist, which at times can drive me crazy. When I am making clothes, I go over and over the same stitch or the same line to make it perfect. I want it to be couture level. I also add embroidery or details to make it even more impressive. I would say perfectionism is one of my top qualities. The second quality would be that I want my clothes to tell a story. I don’t just want to make clothes, I want them to mean something. Also, Ukraine literature is all about the stories, so if I can, I try to contribute that into my designs.

What inspired you to join the fashion show and share your collection?
I recently had a look at a new issue of Vogue and there was a fall couture collection by Dior inspired by Ukrainian artist Olesia Trofymenko. Every show by Dior is great, but this one was just near and dear to my heart. Not only was the embroidery beautiful, but they went about trying to create a light in this time of darkness. They highlighted so many cultures around the world. It inspired me to want to share my own collection.

What do you love most about being a fashion design student at RMCAD?
I love everything! I love going through every class, learning and overall just discovering myself. I have learned so much about myself and have seen this journey as one of self discovery. I love the challenge – each class encourages you to dig a little deeper to become the best artist you can be.

To see Pugh’s collection in person and to witness the exquisite work by more than a dozen RMCAD fashion designers, register to attend the Fashion Showcase today at Void Studios Denver, seats are limited.

*This story was updated and edited for clarity and brevity.

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