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Ally Cherkasava, Student, Ukraine

12 May 2020

Ally describes herself as a conscious shopper with an eye for vintage pieces. We met her in front of a high-end fashion and beauty store in the Italian city of Milan. The 16-year-old student said she had just bought a t-shirt from a concept store nearby after being intrigued by its original print.

Dreaming of creating choreography to be performed on international stages, Ally is working hard to achieve her goal. After leaving the classroom, the high school student spends all her time in Kharkov Dance Academy to prepare for her future career.

For its Voices from the Supply Chain series, Better Work spoke to Ally about her life, her fashion choices and how inclusivity in fashion plays a crucial role for the young generation

1. What is your favourite item of clothing? Can you describe it to us and tell us why it is your favourite?

I love comfortable clothes. Feeling comfortable is the most important thing for me. My favourite items are the large, jazz pants I use when training. I also like the ‘80s and ‘70s fashion styles because people were expressing themselves, their freedom, personality and creativity through their clothes back then. They also made use of a lot of bright colours, which I love.

2. Can you tell me about the last item/s of clothing you bought?

I bought an oversized t-shirt with a very beautiful and bright print. The print reads “forever offline”- the message is meant for introverted people.

3. How do you decide what clothing to buy?

I buy items that I think they will fit me well and with which I feel comfortable walking down the street in. I need to feel confident while wearing my clothes.

4. What proportion of your income do you spend on clothes?

I don’t usually spend a lot of money on clothing. I rarely buy designer labels. I mostly shop vintage clothes. Let’s say I spend around 15 percent of my monthly budget on clothes.

5. If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would it be?

I would definitely increase inclusivity and diversity across the industry. This is very important for my generation. I would add more diverse role models in the fashion industry, representing people of all sizes, colour and age.

6. If there is one piece of information that you would like to know to help you choose your clothes, what would that be?

I would want more tips on washing. I sometimes buy clothes that shrink or get ruined after the first wash.

7. If you could ask the person who made this item of clothing a question, what would it be?

I would ask the designer who made my t-shirt what was the inspiration behind it. Both the print and the logo were unusual. I’d like to know about his creative process. On the other hand, I’d like to ask the people who actually made it how long it takes to stitch up a t-shirt.

8. Would you pay more for your clothes if you knew that the people who made them worked in good conditions?

Yes, of course. Good working conditions for the workers are extremely important. If there were a tag inside each item of clothing certifying that the people who produced it were treated fairly, I would definitely be ready to pay more.

9. Who do you admire most in the world?

I admire people who are not scared to be themselves and who speak out loud without fearing other people’s judgement. I hope to become like them one day.

10. What are your personal ambitions for the future?

I hope to work in the dancing industry. I want to be a good person, help people and feel confident about what I am doing.

I want to be a good person, help people and feel confident about what I am doing.

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