Conversation with Stanislav Bitus

Stas Bitus is a clothing designer, now also known as a designer of women’s military uniforms from the Women’s Veterans Movement. Why Stas started sewing clothes for the military, how he met our paramedic Kuba and how fashion design differs from military design – read more in our interview. 

Tell us about yourself and your experience.

I‘m Bitus Stanislav Antonovych, graduated from Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts,have an university degree of “Clothing Designer”. From the third year, I did an internship, and then I worked part-time at a well-known Ukrainian brand, where I was more involved in the selection of fabrics and sometimes made sketches. We also made interesting textures, even made our own material.

After the fourth year, I was hired as the lead designer of the women’s clothes and worked as a designer for several years. I worked a lot with celebrities, we had VIP clients – bank directors, the work was fun and involving. After that, I tried to open my own brand, but the war broke out,unfortunately my investors were from Donetsk. Then I worked at the university as a teacher of specialized subjects. After that, the own brand was created, which existed for several years, but did not take off, although i even had my own store.

Then I worked at a fashion design school for 4 years. After the start of the war, the school closed, now I work in another school. I’m also developing my own brand of socks “Fayna Socks”. Before the war, I was approached by various brands to design seasonal collections, design and supervise the selection of fabrics and materials.

How did it come up to you to join the project of tailoring women’s uniforms with the Women’s Veteran Movement?

From the very first days, when the full-scale invasion began, Anya [Anna Suvorkina – the second designer of the Women’s Veteran Movement sewing shop] and I went to enlist in the Territorial defense forces. But we were not accepted, as we had absolutely no experience. For a long time – several weeks – we did not know what to do. I even called Kuba and asked: is there anything I can do,can i help? At that moment I thought she was cooperating with the WVM. She said it was not necessary yet, but when it was, she would contact me. Well, we started sewing body armor – not ourselves, but in the shop. Then for a while we moved to another workshop and developed men’s uniforms there. Cuba called me and said they wanted to build a small shop at our headquarters, where we will sew at least T-shirts, underpants and flags for the needs of the Army, and asked for mentoring help. I agreed, and realized that it would be nice to join this initiative myself and have a place to work. I called Yulia [Cuba] and asked if I could sew something for my projects and teach classes at the base where I would be. She said it was a very good idea; it will be great if I was always present to suggest or correct something at any time. It was convenient for everyone. That’s how I came to Women’s Veteran Movement.

Why is this project so important to you?

I’ve always wanted to help people. When the war broke out and I was rejected in joing the Territorial defense forces, I was constantly worried about this. Several times I wanted to join the army, but I was refused, they said that everyone should be in their place. I had the opportunity to volunteer, to help in my own way. And the knowledge that these T-shirts and underwear are needed for the army inspires me a lot and somehow calms my conscience that I am not sitting on the fence, but doing something – and doing what others need. I began to sleep more peacefully, as I know I’m helping others.

How did you meet Cuba (Yulia)?

Yulia took design courses with me. I immediately liked her, such a very bright, cheerful and funny girl. Her laugh is probably a business card, because I have never heard anything like it, I really love it when people laugh merrily. Yulia came with very cool ideas and finished the course with 100 points out of 100. I tried to invest in this knowledge. And when it all happened, Yulia invited me to the WVM shop, and that made us even more friends.

I am very glad about this, I trust her and will be happy to work with her. 

How does the process differ from your usual work?

First of all, I’ve never had anything to do with military uniforms.

All I’ve made are some costumes for the stage, evening dresses, and it’s really different from military clothing. First of all, everything should be good there. If it’s sportswear, it should be comfortable, but when it’s evening dresses or concert outfits, comfort isn’t so important. Military clothing is different here, you have to think over every little thing, make everything as convenient as possible, as comfortable as possible for the girls, which is not very easy.

What was the most difficult part of the process of sewing or designing a military uniform for women?

The most difficult thing was to choose the materials, because now in Ukraine there is a shortage of this: everything is sold out at once and it is difficult to find any fabric. We also need different zippers and such stuff, and it should have a certain size and color. It’s all quite difficult to pile up. It must be difficult to please everyone, as girls are different. Sure, they are all military, but each of them is engaged in their own direction, one is a sniper, another is a medic, and each of them has their own opinion,so we need to develop such a uniform that will suit everyone. This is also very difficult – to please everyone, so that there is nothing superfluous.

What would you like to improve in our form?

When it comes to improving – we are constantly working on it. I’m not definitely one to decide,but the girls are. They will better understand what needs to be added, subtracted, and what to pay attention to and rework. Our task is to develop further and further. Perhaps I would also like to make fleeces in addition to the coat and pants. We’re also developing women’s underwear at the moment!