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Balenciaga’s Demna Tapped by President Zelensky to Raise Funds for Ukraine

The brand will release a t-shirt to raise money and awareness for United24′s Rebuild Ukraine fund.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking with Demna on zoom when the designer was named a United24 ambassador.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking with Demna when the designer was named a United24 ambassador. (Courtesy)

Demna, the artistic director of Balenciaga, will serve as an ambassador for United24, the fundraising platform for relief in Ukraine put in place by the country’s president Volodymyr Zelensky.

As part of the partnership, Balenciaga will release a T-shirt Thursday to raise money and awareness for United24′s Rebuild Ukraine fund, which is dedicated to restoring critical infrastructure in the country, including hospitals, schools and roads. One hundred percent of net profits from sales of the shirt will go to the fund, United24 said in a statement.

Balenciaga will release a t-shirt Thursday to raise money and awareness for United24’s Rebuild Ukraine fund.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Demna was one of the first public figures in fashion to address the humanitarian crisis, and did so in a memorable way. Having fled his native Georgia at the age of 12 after Russia invaded the country, “the war in Ukraine has triggered the pain of a past trauma I have carried in me since 1993,” the designer wrote in a letter published alongside his Autumn/Winter 2022 show, during which models trudged through wind and snow carrying their belongings in trash bags as explosion-like flashes lit up the skyline.

In United24′s statement, Zelensky thanked Demna for his commitment to Ukraine’s cause. “It’s crucial that we keep the world’s focus on Ukraine to help rebuild our country,” he said.

Other figures tapped for the initiative include American actor Liev Schreiber, pop group Imagine Dragons, retired football star Andriy Shevchenko and Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina.

Learn more:

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The designer talks to Tim Blanks about the apocalyptic power of his latest Balenciaga show and why reality beats the metaverse.

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