Fashion Week

NYFW Diaries: Inside the Angel for Fashion Showroom

This New York Fashion Week, we’re welcoming our friends at Angel for Fashion to host “Ukrainian Fashion: Shaping Style. Empowering Change,” an appointment-only showroom at The Standard, East Village. Founded by fashion veteran Jen Sidary, Angel for Fashion is a dedicated e-retail platform that offers people around the world a chance to shop Ukrainian fashion labels and directly support the resilient creators behind the brands.

The week-long pop-up spotlights a curated selection of designers from the site, including A.M.G., Gudu, Gunia Project, J’Amemme, Kachorovska, My Sleeping Gypsy, Omelia, Samokish and T.Mosca. With a location in the heart of the Ukrainian Village and a partnership with Ukrainian artist Waone Interesni Kazki, we’re proud to be a home to allies and members of the community at this time.

Style mavens raised a glass to the showroom’s launch last Sunday between The Garden and The Standard, East Village’s private dining room. Skim below for BTS photos and details on Jen’s transformative project: 

You used your decades of e-commerce experience to launch Angel for Fashion just a few days after the Russian invasion in Ukraine. It’s impressive how quickly it all came together, with over 800 products added in 30 days. We’re not sure that everyone realizes the operational feats that you have to go through to make this happen, especially during a time of international conflict. What are some of the logistical challenges that you overcame while building the project? 

Thankfully, I didn’t think about it. I just did it as I knew the designers needed help immediately.  I was living in a one-bedroom apartment in West Hollywood with a Ukrainian designer on my couch as she was in New York when the war broke out.  We slept maybe three or four hours a night as we were contacting designers on a ten-hour time difference to get their product images, style numbers and prices for the website.  Also, many of them were responding from bomb shelters or from their cars trying to leave the country.  I hired a Spanish development agency to design a custom website so they were nine-hours ahead of me and you know how Europeans don’t like to be rushed to finish projects.  Those were just a few of the challenges I encountered but the scariest part was seeing if we could actually ship products to the customers from an active warzone.  When we launched to the press on April 5, 2022 and started receiving orders, I held my breath. Thankfully, my Ukrainian designers fulfilled all the orders and the local shipper in Ukraine got the packages out of the country.  It’s actually been the most remarkable story.

How do you source and connect with designers featured on the site? What has their feedback been so far?

To launch the site, it was a mix of my Ukrainian connections from when I was there working with many of the brands before the war, as well as some I didn’t know from the designer that was staying with me.  Now we have a waiting list of over 100 brands to join the website but we are still a very small team so we must be sure the brands we add will deliver to the customers and fit with our aesthetic.  We have also met some new brands because of our partnership with USAID as we launch an application process to showcase the brands at the fashion weeks.

What sparked your idea to create an in-person showroom this New York Fashion Week?

I had this idea originally in 2021 when I first met with USAID’s Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine.  I knew to achieve global exposure for the brands, we needed to showcase them at Fashion Weeks around the world and what better place than New York City to start this initiative? We first started showing in multi-brand showrooms, then at Coterie last season at the Javits Center, and now at The Standard, East Village.

Tell us about a few of the showroom designers whose stories are particularly compelling to you.

There are so many incredible stories from the showrooms.  In September 2021, our first showcase, we received an order for Kachorovska shoes from Lyndon’s in Wichita, Kansas.  It was Kachorovska’s first US order and as I was born in Kansas City, it just felt like destiny.  We also received an order from a store in Brooklyn for one of our brands 91LAB the morning after the war broke out in February 2022.  It showed us all that we could continue our business even while the bombs initially began to fall on the capital city of Kyiv.  S&W received their order a few months later and completely sold out every piece.  These stories are just some of our successes and I know they won’t be our last.

How do you see Angel for Fashion evolving over the next year, and what can New Yorkers do to support the cause?
We have just launched a business to business program on NuOrder for thirteen of our brands so we can achieve further wholesale orders for the designers year around.  This will be our main focus for the rest of this year and throughout 2024.  What New Yorkers can do to support…many of them are already some of our best customers on Angel for Fashion.  We would love for more people to check out and buy from our designers as the money goes directly to the brands and of course, if some of the famous NY-based stores placed our brands in their retail shops, that would be magnificent.

Prior to founding Angel for Fashion, you led retail + wholesale for brands like Vivienne Westwood and Zappos. How did your interest in the fashion world first come about?

I was always a fashion gal and was having my mom buy me designer labels from a very young age.  We didn’t have a lot of money but my mom was so supportive she found a way to get me Jordache jeans and even a Gucci watch and handbag. 


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