Worn by Little Mix, the designer fled Ukraine on a 3,500 mile trip to the UK

Caption: (Image: Rex; Statnaia corsets)

Little Mix is ​​among celebrities to have worn designs by Ukrainian corset designer Statnaia (Image: Rex/Statnaia Corsets)

A Ukrainian fashion designer whose corsets were worn by Little Mix has told how she packed her car as she fled the country with her “terrified” 10-year-old son.

Tetiana Stetsyna said goodbye to her husband and left her hometown of Odessa, which was under rocket fire from Russian forces, to take her child Denys to safety.

Two days after the start of the invasion, she filled the car with corsets and materials for the designs at the expense of her personal belongings and drove to neighboring Moldova.

At first the 37-year-old wanted to return home but has since made her way to Oxfordshire after meeting up with a host through Opora, a charity that helps people from war zones rebuild their lives in Britain .

Corsets from Tetiana’s coveted Statnaia brand were worn by the girl band, as well as singers Mabel and JoJo and model Winnie Harlow.

She is now trying to set up her business in the UK, where the mother and son were welcomed ‘like family’ by their sponsors after a multi-stage road trip totaling more than 3,500 miles across Europe.

Tetiana said: “I was born in Odessa, an amazing and beautiful city on the Black Sea coast, but I decided to leave my hometown because of my son.

“He was afraid of the explosions and cried day and night.

“It wasn’t easy on the road, I had to drive all the way because I had everything in the car to make corsets and a stock of ready made corsets.

“There wasn’t even room for personal belongings. But it’s been a lot harder leaving everything, leaving my family, my home and my business and my Statnaia brand, leaving my employees unemployed who are all such talented seamstresses who rely on me.’

Tetiana Stetsyna is trying to revive her business after moving to the UK with her son Denys (Image: Tetiana Stetsyna)

Tetiana Stetsyna is trying to revive her business after moving to the UK with her son Denys (Image: Tetiana Stetsyna)

The entrepreneur said she also left Odessa with a friend and her child and a “lonely girl” who joined them on the trip.

In Moldova, she was reunited with her best friend and their two children – who would accompany her all the way to the UK – when it became clear that returning to Ukraine would not be safe for the foreseeable future.

Tetiana and her group traveled to Austria on March 9, from where she applied for UK visas. They left for England two months later when Odessa, a port city on Ukraine’s southern coast, continued to be hit by rockets that hit targets including a shopping center and apartments.

Tetiana is now being helped to restart the business and its bespoke product lines with the help of Opora, who have launched a business development program for Ukrainians who have been granted refuge in the UK.

“My son and I now live in a village in Oxfordshire with wonderful sponsors,” she said. “We found them on the Opora Homes for Ukraine platform and they welcomed us like family.”

Established in 2019, Statnaia took orders from all over the world and partnered with stores across Ukraine, including the renowned Kyiv Central Department Store. The handmade couture takes time and know-how, as all of the company’s tailors and seamstresses have undergone special training before starting their work.

Statnaia’s star power increased further in early May when Little Mix singers Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock posed in corsets worn as part of catsuits with mesh rhinestones.

They uploaded the footage to Instagram at the height of their Confetti Tour, before the band went on an indefinite hiatus to focus on solo projects.

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Little Mix stars Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall wear Statnaia clothes in London (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty for Warner Bros.)

The girl band selected the figure-shaping outfits through a stylist in the UK, who has a long-standing relationship with Statnaia, and showed their clients the Ukrainian fashion house’s catalogue.

The stars previously posed in the brand’s corsets on the red carpet at the premiere of the Christmas film Boxing Day, starring Leigh-Anne, at the London screening last November.

Demand for the garments had already exceeded capacity three months before the Russian invasion began on February 24.

The day before the first rockets and shots fell on her homeland, Tetiana had opened a second workshop, bought equipment and prepared premises for a third, which was due to start production in March.

In a devastating setback, production was halted early in the invasion as the second plant was only open for a day.

“It was a big blow for everyone,” Tetiana said. “But we are not ready to give up. As long as our warriors defend their homeland, we will defend our economy. On March 10th we managed to restart production in the first workshop, and on May 9th work resumed in the second plant.”

Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock in a Statania corset during the band's Confetti Tour (Image: LittleMixOfficialInstagram)

Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock in a Statnaia corset during the band’s Confetti Tour (Image: LittleMixOfficialInstagram)

Tetiana Stetsyna is trying to revive her business after moving to the UK with her son Denys (Image: Tetiana Stetsyna)

Perrie Edwards in one of the Statnaia outfits chosen by the pop band after the trio were shown designs by a stylist (Image: LittleMixOfficialInstagram)

Tetiana told Metro.co.uk she is grateful for the sanctuary and support the UK is offering to Ukrainian businesses and the country as a whole as she sets out to rebuild her brand remotely.

“Despite the fact that we are a very strong nation, we need this help,” she said. “We are very proud that our brand is recognized by British celebrities and we are grateful to the people, government and charities for supporting Ukraine.

“Thanks also to Opora for the help and support.

“It is very important to keep working, actively growing my business in the UK and importing products from Ukraine.

The designer, who made corsets for Little Mix, fled Ukraine for a 3,500-mile trip to the UK

A model in one of Statnaia’s most sought-after corsets worldwide (Image: Statnaia/statnaiacorsets.com)

The designer, who made corsets for Little Mix, fled Ukraine for a 3,500-mile trip to the UK

The Statnaia brand has combined the shaping garments with haute couture (Image: Statnaia/statnaiacorsets.com)

“I want to set up a branch and workshop in England, start production and partner with shops.

“We are already actively working on a business plan and adapting the online store for UK and global use. I hope very soon that my colleagues will join me to work together on a new collection.

“With Opora’s support, we can easily adapt to the UK business environment and requirements. I also hope to receive a business grant from Opora to help rebuild my business and am open to partnerships.’

(Image: Statnaia Corsets)

A top design model that caught the eye of Little Mix (Image: Statnaia/statnaiacorsets.com)

Opora operates a platform for those leaving the country to find hosts and a business grant program for Ukrainian entrepreneurs who want to continue and grow their businesses after fleeing the war.

Tetiana has applied for the first tranche of funding to be awarded as part of a pilot program and is being supported in her extension offensive.

Tetiana Stetsyna is trying to revive her business after moving to the UK with her son Denys (Image: Tetiana Stetsyna)

Tetiana Stetsyna left her homeland behind and hoped to return but is now building a new life in the UK (Image: Tetiana Stetsyna)

Yegor Lanovenko, founder and chairman of the charity, said: “At Opora, we are focused on providing Ukrainians with the opportunity to sustainably rebuild their lives in the UK, as many of the newcomers are now asking the question, ‘What comes when next?’

“Ukrainians are a very enterprising nation and there are so many inspirational business leaders like Tetiana who are in the UK now figuring out how to support not only their families but their teams in Ukraine and elsewhere.

“Helping to rebuild these businesses in the UK is a fantastic opportunity not only to support Ukrainians but also to contribute to the UK economy.

‘We are very pleased to facilitate this through our business grants and support program for Ukrainian refugee-run businesses.’

More information about Opora can be found here

Do you have a story you would like to share? Contact josh.layton@metro.co.uk

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/31/designer-worn-by-little-mix-fled-ukraine-on-3500-mile-drive-to-uk-16741907/ Worn by Little Mix, the designer fled Ukraine on a 3,500 mile trip to the UK

Justin Scacco

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