At first, Khomenko was using her skills to help to sew items for the Ukrainian military, but while working with local refugee organizations to collect clothing for refugees, she began to notice the surplus of donated garments. Many were not particularly useful for refugees, and so were earmarked to be thrown away. “I was in volunteer centers and there would be dirty bedsheets and erotic sex costumes, just unnecessary things at this stage,” she says. With this in mind, Khomenko gathered up these damaged donations and began fusing the garment scraps together using compression technology. (Unlike previously, when Khomenko was sewing pieces by hand, the compression technique allowed her to fuse together larger batches of clothing at one time.)
The results, most of which are long-sleeved shirts, are striking: discarded soccer jerseys fused together or patchworked, their kaleidoscopic hues of pinks, oranges, reds, and floral prints meshed seamlessly. Sometimes, Khomenko intentionally infuses strips of yellow and blue as a nod to the Ukrainian flag—and as an intentional symbol of hope. “Ukraine is about destruction and reconstruction,” she says. “For so many years our culture was destroyed but we rise again and again. That is my whole practice.” Currently, each piece retails for $450 dollars, and Khomenko is donating 50 percent of the proceeds to volunteers aiding elderly and disabled Ukrainians unable to leave their homes.
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