Called ‘Kiev Fashion’s Queen Bee’ by Vogue UK, Daria Shapovalova is the creative director of Kiev Fashion Days, a biannual showcase of local fashion design talent sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. As political turmoil and conflict with Russia continue to plague her native Ukraine, Shapovalova is focused on portraying the country in a positive way by showing the brands and designers who hope to make waves on the international scene as well.
Jessica Michault , editor-in-chief of Nowfashion.com told BoF: "She has almost single handily put Ukraine fashion industry on the map as the driving force behind the nascent Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days. She also rallied the fashion troops when things went south in her native country. Over night she organised a Showcase of Ukraine Fashion Talent, featuring the work of six young designers”.
After earning her degrees in PR and marketing, Shapovalova briefly interned for Anna Della Russo, the vivacious and daring editor-at-large of Vogue Japan and street style fixture. There, she discovered up and coming Ukranian designers that she would introduce to international retailers and press contacts. Aged 19, she launched her own television show, Fashion Week With Daria Shapovalova, on Ukrainian TV. From there, she began contributing to the Ukrainian editions of Elle and Harper’s Bazaar, plus Vogue Russia. Her venture into multimedia journalism also spans to her role as a video director at the French fashion website, Nowfashion, her Russian-language fashion website, Fw-Dailly and her eponymous fashion blog. Taking the PR world by storm, Shapolova eventually launched her own agency, More Dash Sales in 2014, building recognition for Eastern European brands in new markets. Among them are brands such as Mariana Senchina and Anna October, now stacked at Matches Fashion, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.
As organiser and creative director of the Mercedez Benz Kiev Fashion Days, Shapovalova’s main goal is to elevate Ukrainian fashion and mark Kiev as a major fashion capital in Eastern Europe. “After seven years of hard work, we have Ukrainian designers selling in great stores worldwide, and the fashion community knows that Ukraine has amazing talents,” she wrote on Style.com, for which she is a regular contributor. As the largest fashion event in Ukraine, it has attracted representatives of the likes of Forbes, W Magazine, The Huffington Post and the CR Fashion book. In 2016, Shapovalova crossed her fashion career into the technology industry, holding the very first fashion-technology forum. Attendees included leading tech industry experts of Google and the Yoox Net-a-porter group. There, Shapovalova spearheaded discussions focused on the bridging fashion with technology. She also veered into the fashion education sphere in founding the Kyiv Fashion Institue, a private school with a reputation as one of Ukraine’s top fashion centres. Shapovalova herself is also recognised for her sartorial prowess and is frequently photographed outside of fashion shows and tents.
With the ongoing conflict with Russia over the Eastern part of the country, and with Ukraine in the international spotlight following the crash of commercial flight MH17, she has also driven a #FashionforPeace initiative to rally her fellow countrymen and designers against the negative press and violence that has rattled the country.