Destinations visited the first store of men’s casual clothing of Ukrainian brands – Semantic – and talked to Olya Polovko, its owner.
Olya Polovko: Now we work in a test mode. We want to discover some more Ukrainian brands and to represent them in our store. This format is pretty new. I have not heard of exclusive men’s clothing stores with Ukrainian brands. Now we have not so many brands here because some of them are not ready to go offline yet.
Ukrainian producers now are divided into certain categories. There are teenage brands (street youth style), designer brands and those that are only sold abroad (they are expensive and don’t want to be represented in Ukraine). I want initially to study the demand and increase the customer base while introducing a wide range of manufacturers in different price categories. All of them will be combined with the casual and smart casual wearing for men.
We plan to change the location later on, when we become famous and popular. I want to believe that the location will stimulate the producers to present their products here. We have pullovers, jackets, shirts, underwear, home jersey, some accessories over here. But now a few jeans producers are represented in our store.
There is one brand with expensive jeans, they work for Europe. We have an agreement with them that they will also deliver their models to our Semantic store. The price will be 80-90 dollars per pair of trousers. Not everyone can afford it, of course. Ukrainians prefer to pay UAH 500-1200 per pair of jeans. So far, this niche is not occupied.
How do you choose the brands for Semantic?
Olya Polovko: It is only my choice. I have to see that the producer cares about the customer. There are some aggressive brands; they do not fit into the concept of casual menswear. It is rather a youth Street Style and yes, they have their own audience.
In your opinion, what needs to change to help Ukrainian brands to become popular and competitive with the European ones?
Olya Polovko: Nowadays more and more Ukrainian brands appear and they make high-quality clothing. We, Ukrainians, are very demanding to our own producers. If we go to buy clothes at some mass-market, we are not so closely eyeing on things in terms of quality, since the price is affordable. But when we come to a local producer, its products will be turned inside out. Is the fabric ok? Is the sewing ok? And so on. But this stimulates the Ukrainian producer, however, it is due to all these nuances the price turns to be a bit high.
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When the demand increases the price will be more acceptable. It is a kind of synergy: people buy more, manufacturers can produce more and if the quality is good the system will develop very fast.
Semantic address: 69, Vladymirska street, 4th floor.