Celebrities wear the Vyshyvanka in support of Ukraine

Celebrities wear the Vyshyvanka in support of Ukraine

Every year, on the third Thursday of May, Ukraine celebrates the Day of Vyshyvanka.

The occasion pays tribute to the country's original folk traditions and sees citizens wearing embroidered Ukrainian clothes, including the Vyshyvanka, a loose-fitting shirt, which is often in black or white and features geometric patterns stitched around the edges.

This year’s celebration was seen as a symbol of national unity against the Russian invasion.

Ukrainians celebrate Vyshyvanka Day to preserve folk traditions - AFP

It also became a moment for celebrities, including some of the the ambassadors of the official fundraising platform of Ukraine UNITED24, to show their support by wearing the vyshyvanka. The garments will be put into a raffle and proceeds will help with the restoration of a school in Buzova, Kyiv Oblast, destroyed in the war.

Celebrities from France, Canada, the US and UK donned tailor-made traditional shirts, designed by the Ukrainian embroidery brand ETNODIM. Some of the stars wore shirts with patterns specific to the regions their ancestors lived; for instance, Liev Schreiber's comes from Odesa and Barbara Streisand's is from Ternopil.

Canadian actress Katheryn Winnick wearing a traditional Ukrainian shirt. - UNITED24

Canadian actress Katheryn Winnick's vyshyvanka features traditional elements from Halychyna, where the actress' grandparents are from.

French film director Michel Hazanavicius is wearing an embroidered Ukrainian shirt - UNITED24

Director Michel Hazanavicius' embroidered shirt is characteristic of Volyn (in the west of Ukraine), the region his grandmother hailed from.

American actor Liev Schreiber is wearing a vyshyvanka designed for him. - UNITED24

American actor Liev Schreiber's design is an example of mid-20th century embroidery which comes from the Odesa region, where his grandparents and great-grandparents lived.

Artist manager Mac Reynolds is one of the ambassadors. - UNITED24

The shirt colours and embellishments of Imagine Dragons' manager Mac Reynolds are typical of traditional styles from Podillia, in south-western Ukraine. Instead of traditional horses, the shirt features stylized dragons.

Ukrainian football manager and former professional football player Andriy Shevchenko wearing his vyshyvanka. - UNITED24

Andriy Shevchenko's vyshyvanka's design, featuring chestnut leaves, was based on traditional geometric embroidery from the Kyiv region - a reminder of the football legend's hometown.

The fundraiser project also created designs for all UNITED24 ambassadors, including Barbra Streisand and Mark Hamilton, although they were not pictured in their shirts.

American singer Barbra Streisand has received a design with a pattern that is traditional for Ternopil region — the place of her paternal grandparents. - AP/UNITED24

In a statement, UNITED24 said, "Now these embroidered shirts will go to different countries: France, Canada, the US and England, and will always remind the UNITED24 ambassadors both for their important work and the strong connection with Ukraine".

Funds raised via the vyshyvanka project will help with the reconstruction of a school in Buzova village, which was destroyed by Russian troops during the Kyiv offensive in March 2022. It will cost a staggering €1,150,000 to replace - but the UNITED24 fundraiser has almost reached that goal. It runs until 1 June.