On the Ukrainian flag royal blue symbolises the sky while sunshine yellow represents the wheat fields that populate the country's rolling landscapes. It's these fields of wheat, and memories from her homeland, that inspire fashion designer Svetlana Bevza, the founder of contemporary womenswear brand BEVZA.

Founded back in 2006, the brand explores the profound symbolism rooted in Ukraine's cultural heritage, working alongside local makers to honour artisanal craft. After facing extreme hardship caused by the Russian invasion the brand's resilience shines through like fields of gold that began the story of BEVZA.

We caught up with Svetlana to hear more about her debut bag collection, which features the wheat emblem with pride…

Your new bag collection aims to “embody courage”. Could you elaborate on the inspiration behind this theme and how it is reflected in the designs?
This is the first full leather bag collection that BEVZA have ever made and I wanted to use this to continue to communicate that we don't just make clothes – we create symbols! There is so much symbolism under the surface of all of our collections. With the bags, we have incorporated our signature spikelet into the bag's hardware to work as a closure or clasp while one of the bags looks like the geometry of a grain. The bag line consists of five styles, which are all investment pieces that will last a lifetime.

The spikelet symbol holds great significance for BEVZA. How does the use of spikelet details in the bag collection align with the brand's core values and message?
We feel a responsibility to speak to the world about our cultural heritage. Ukraine is one of the main exporters of wheat globally, we have very beautiful and fertile land. The spikelet is a sacred symbol in Ukraine and has been for centuries. Our wheat has come under threat from Russia numerous times. Most notably the Holodomor – the artificial famine created by the Soviets, that caused massive loss of Ukrainian life in 1932-33, and today it is under threat again. It’s our core mission to speak about the heritage that historically belongs to us.

We have incorporated the spikelet symbol into many seasons already, as a main symbol of Ukraine it is connected to a variety of Ukrainian traditions. For example, when you go to a wedding or birthday or greet friends and family, you always take a loaf of bread. Bread is a sacred thing in our country. We strongly believe that we have to take care of the things that feed us and that give us life and what we are now fighting for is our fertile land.

The SS24 campaign references Agnes Denes’ "Wheatfield — A Confrontation." How does this iconic artwork influence or complement the narrative of your latest collection?
Beyond Ukrainian traditions, I believe that it's the responsibility of the whole of Humanity to look after our planet. Agnes Denes’s legendary installation is still relevant today. Through the years, generations and landscapes have changed, but the spikelet of wheat is an eternal symbol. She created this wheatfield in 1982, which is the year I was born, but still when I look at the pictures of her installation, I feel that it was made just yesterday. We recreated the visual wheatfield for our bag campaign shoot to point out the actuality of the problems she raised decades ago.

Your brand engages with Ukrainian motifs and collaborates with local artisans. How does BEVZA contribute to preserving and reimagining Ukrainian cultural heritage, especially in the context of the current conflict?
Working with the artisans is a very natural process in Ukraine where all families make embroideries or knits by hand. Grandmothers, mothers, and many young women today still create items based on centuries of experience and tradition. The handwork is of the highest level in Ukraine even in our technological leaning society. I think that the handwork, the energy and the creative process that the artisans bring makes BEVZA unique.

Last winter, we had severe blackouts in Ukraine and one lady who makes handmade jackets for us called me and thanked me that I gave her a job. She also told me that it saved her from depression because she had no lights at home. She used to wake up with the first light, early in the morning and sit by the window all day doing her job. There is so much soul and resilience in their works, especially now and I’m proud we contribute to keep these ancient traditions of Ukrainian handcrafts alive.

What can we expect from BEVZA in the future, and are there any upcoming projects or collaborations that you're particularly excited about?
The brand is growing and we are already working on our upcoming fall/winter collection. I currently live in London with my kids and the Atelier still operates from Kyiv. So everything we produce is done remotely, online over video calls. It's a hard process to begin with because I loved being in the studio and getting a feel for the fabrics. But, it's our third season of working in this way and it seems to be working for us for now.

Shop the new bag collection at bevza.com...