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Ukrainian bridal designer dedicates newest collection to homeland

'My collection is my scream for help'
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Posted at 4:57 PM, Apr 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-17 20:41:39-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Olha Potapenko, a couture bridal designer living in the Kansas City area, is using her newest collection, business platform and designs to speak up for those fighting against Russian troops overseas in her homeland of Ukraine.

“Everyone from Ukraine who stays here in safety — we feel the guilt and the pain that we’re here and we’re safe while our friends and family are over there dying,” Potapenko said. “My collection is my scream for help.”

Potapenko moved to the Kansas City area 4 1/2 years ago to be closer to her in-laws. She still has numerous loved ones living in Ukraine who are directly impacted by the violence of war.

“All of the inhumane behaviors that is happening in Ukraine, it’s not just about Ukraine. It’s about humanity as a whole,” she said. “It’s not okay what is happening. The human life is above everything.”

To numb the guilt, Potapenko turned to what she knows best. With pen and paper, she sketched out an entire collection of bridal gowns dedicated to her home country and its people.

Each gown represents a different story.

One dress has the words “Stop The War” stitched on its front with red roses embellishing the bottom of the train. She says the dress is dedicated to all the brides whose men will never come back home, the roses representing each bullet taken.

“My message is to let people know that the threat that's currently in act in Ukraine is very real and what’s going on there can happen here as well,” Potapenko said.

Potapenko's Ukrainian collection was featured in a fashion show in Kansas City.

She says she's grateful for the outpouring of support she felt from the audience, especially after a standing ovation followed the presentation of the Ukrainian flag.

“I was praying for people who are in power and who can make a difference in the world to see this and to be moved — to take some actions and help,” Potapenko said.