Meet IENKI IENKI

The Ukrainian brand bringing joy to winter wardrobes

We’ve long been fans of IENKI IENKI – it’s hard not to be given how iconic their puffers are. And, since witnessing their expansion into other lines like ski suits and corset tops, the obsession has only grown. Still, what’s the story behind the brand? We spoke to its founder, Dima Ievenko, to find out.

Dima Ievenko

But what of his upcoming show? What plans does Rizza have in store? His Milan show, taking place later today, is his biggest yet. It’s a large space with a 360° video screen surrounding the viewers showcasing 30 models at actual size. “You won't know where it begins and where it all ends.”

“I call it the safari of life,” says Rizza. The video will showcase both men and women, a first for Rizza who previously focused on womenswear (although he states anyone can wear anything from his collection). Initially, “they will be doing daily life things” he explains, like “eating ice cream [and] talking.” But it’s of course not that simple (this is Rizza after all), as the models will also build their looks in front of viewers, with a woman taking the suit off a man and giving him her shirt, for example. It’s a cool concept.

IENKI IENKI is a proudly Ukrainian brand, how has the war impacted you?

As it affects the entire country, we had no choice but to change and adapt to the war conditions. All our products had been made in Ukraine, with the head office in Kyiv. As the war broke out, we still tried to keep our operations normal, in order to give employees a sense of stability and belonging. All that, of course, was subject to the strictest safety rules. But eventually we were forced to move the offices and warehouses to western Ukraine. 

IENKI IENKI is a proudly Ukrainian brand, how has the war impacted you?

As it affects the entire country, we had no choice but to change and adapt to the war conditions. All our products had been made in Ukraine, with the head office in Kyiv. As the war broke out, we still tried to keep our operations normal, in order to give employees a sense of stability and belonging. All that, of course, was subject to the strictest safety rules. But eventually we were forced to move the offices and warehouses to western Ukraine. 

Dima Ievenko

But what of his upcoming show? What plans does Rizza have in store? His Milan show, taking place later today, is his biggest yet. It’s a large space with a 360° video screen surrounding the viewers showcasing 30 models at actual size. “You won't know where it begins and where it all ends.”

“I call it the safari of life,” says Rizza. The video will showcase both men and women, a first for Rizza who previously focused on womenswear (although he states anyone can wear anything from his collection). Initially, “they will be doing daily life things” he explains, like “eating ice cream [and] talking.” But it’s of course not that simple (this is Rizza after all), as the models will also build their looks in front of viewers, with a woman taking the suit off a man and giving him her shirt, for example. It’s a cool concept.

What inspired you when you were designing your latest collection?

We find our constant sources of inspiration in our roots – the heritage of the northern people of Ukraine and the Ukrainian national costume. We also always try to introduce elements of fun and naughtiness in our collections. 

What distinguishes IENKI IENKI from its peers? 

The starting point and main goal of IENKI IENKI is to make garments that are visually flattering. We also seek to create shapes and silhouettes that are both innovative and wearable. We believe outerwear must be cosy and functional enough to keep you warm no matter the weather.

What do you want your customers to feel when they wear IENKI IENKI?

We want them to feel warm and cosy, but not dull, and at the same time to inspire people for their daily activities. We want them to count down the hours until they’re putting on their IENKI IENKI jackets and look forward to going outside whatever the weather.

The brand has been a great success, but when you were first starting out, what was your vision? Has it been fulfilled, or has it turned out completely different? Any lessons learned?

We keep going our own way. When just starting out, I dreamt of creating a puffer jacket that would combine warmth and style with quality and functionality, made from the newest and best technologies available.

How has your background as a descendant of the Evenki people influenced the brand?

The brand name IENKI IENKI (pronounced YENKI YENKI) evokes my origins: I descend from the Evenki people, formerly the Tungus, one of the most populous and widely dispersed of the many smaller native nations of northern Siberia. Those are my roots. We will keep drawing on the traditions and costume of the northern peoples, rethinking them from the perspective of modern technology and fashion design.

How should IENKI IENKI be worn?

Every day with a smile.

But what of his upcoming show? What plans does Rizza have in store? His Milan show, taking place later today, is his biggest yet. It’s a large space with a 360° video screen surrounding the viewers showcasing 30 models at actual size. “You won't know where it begins and where it all ends.”

“I call it the safari of life,” says Rizza. The video will showcase both men and women, a first for Rizza who previously focused on womenswear (although he states anyone can wear anything from his collection). Initially, “they will be doing daily life things” he explains, like “eating ice cream [and] talking.” But it’s of course not that simple (this is Rizza after all), as the models will also build their looks in front of viewers, with a woman taking the suit off a man and giving him her shirt, for example. It’s a cool concept.

IENKI IENKI has been worn by many public figures from Bella Hadid to the Kardashians, but who were you most excited to see wear the brand?

The most exciting thing is when you see people in your clothes in streets, cafes and parks. It's very inspiring and encouraging. Knowing that IENKI IENKI hits it off with both celebrities and the general public makes us proud.

IENKI IENKI has been worn by many public figures from Bella Hadid to the Kardashians, but who were you most excited to see wear the brand?

The most exciting thing is when you see people in your clothes in streets, cafes and parks. It's very inspiring and encouraging. Knowing that IENKI IENKI hits it off with both celebrities and the general public makes us proud.

But what of his upcoming show? What plans does Rizza have in store? His Milan show, taking place later today, is his biggest yet. It’s a large space with a 360° video screen surrounding the viewers showcasing 30 models at actual size. “You won't know where it begins and where it all ends.”

“I call it the safari of life,” says Rizza. The video will showcase both men and women, a first for Rizza who previously focused on womenswear (although he states anyone can wear anything from his collection). Initially, “they will be doing daily life things” he explains, like “eating ice cream [and] talking.” But it’s of course not that simple (this is Rizza after all), as the models will also build their looks in front of viewers, with a woman taking the suit off a man and giving him her shirt, for example. It’s a cool concept.

How does the design process of your ski collection differ from your other lines?

The process is different in that, in addition to new designs, we pay special attention to the ski suits' technical characteristics. First of all, they must be practical and functional. We work with ski schools and their instructors to test our items and advise us accordingly. Specialised ski clothing is subject to many requirements, and our goal is to make an exciting design without compromising functionality!

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