Berlin, 2023—before us, on the DZHUS runway, is the breathtaking beauty of an outfit transformation. Hands work through cloth and hardware to reveal a new way to style a garment. Manipulated fabric drapes atop shoulders and watches dangle from cape-like sleeves. It is a performance that draws the audience into the sacred yet cultish world of Irina Dzhus.
Dzhus is a conceptual fashion brand created by Ukraine-born designer, Irina Dzhus. The cruelty-free label blends classic womenswear and unisex aesthetics. DZHUS won the Cruelty-Free Fashion prize at Best Fashion Awards Ukraine, and is stocked at stores around the world from Japan to Portugal, Belgium to UAE. DZHUS has been donating 30% of its profits to Ukrainian animal rights organizations since the start of the Ukraine war.
And while modular style and multi-purpose pieces have been part of DZHUS’ DNA for years, the SS24 ‘Feuerle’ collection adds a hypnotic, almost dreamlike presentation to their legacy. The collection is a conversation between fashion and the social narratives that define it. It dares the audience to question gender narratives, archetypes, and its visual presentation; it asks us what changes when we deconstruct gender through fashion.
And here’s how DZHUS explore the idea, in vivid monochrome:
A statement bra that weaves two baseball caps together. A veil constructed from gloves. A gown reminiscent of a necktie. Bags created out of blazers, jewelry that turns into an accessory, accessories that turn into clothing. The garments are all painted in monochrome shades of warm ecru, black, white, or gray, allowing the cut and the concept to remain at the forefront.
Fifteen pieces explored through nine unique looks. And at the heart of it all, a creator, making the pieces come to life before the audience.
Like the majority of Ukrainians, the war caused Irina Dzhus to revaluate something they once considered fundamental, before arriving at their ‘true essence’. In a similar way, Irina Dzhus questions the very fabric of gender expression and identity. The Feuerle collection blends architecture and performance; it questions gender, and the role of fashion in its presentation. It is a response to the increasing demand from a male audience, yet it is an expression of the designer’s own truth.
It is a collection like no other.
Simren Jaswani is an editorial intern at Liminul Magazine and a Fashion Student at Toronto Metropolitan University.