Ukrainian-Based Milla Nova recently marked its 20th anniversary at New York Bridal Fashion Week. Stocked in bridal boutiques in 50 countries, the brand is the brainchild of Zoryana Senyshyn, with creative direction and design from the one and only Lorenzo Rossi. In this exclusive interview, Zoryana Senyshyn discusses the genesis of the brand, and how the brand has redeployed part of its work to assisting with the war effort in Ukraine.
Photos: Lena Shkoda
Q: What’s your professional background?
We are a self-made female and family owned business with success that comes from very personal experience of making it. My mindset has always been business oriented. From very early on I knew that I’d be a business owner of some kind. But then life wondered me into the bridal industry, which felt right from the very beginning.
I knew I’d be a business owner of some kind
Q: What did you do before running Milla Nova? Is it your first business? Were you involved in other projects previously?
This is my first and only business, my “child” which we grow and evolve together with daily. It takes all the time and requires all the attention, but it’s a joyful process, as I absolutely love what I do.
Q: If you weren’t a bridal brand owner, what business would you start?
I would own a restaurant! I love cooking and I recognize and respect the complexity of running such a business. I find it very similar to bridal: all your creativity and effort are about making each of your customers feel special and happy.
it’s making each of your customers feel special and happy
Q: Could you please tell us a little bit more about this season’s collection inspiration? How did you come up with this collection? What was the main challenge designing this collection? How do you manage to find inspiration for new garments in such a highly competitive market?
Each collection is the reflection of the artistic vision of our creative team. We collect ideas, follow trends, listen to our customers’ feedback and wish lists and closely monitor the innovations of the industry.
Our latest collection is yet another wonderful collaboration with the one and only Lorenzo Rossi – our creative partner of many years. It’s always a win-win situation, as we share the same artistic vision and happily follow his creative lead.
it’s yet another wonderful collaboration Lorenzo Rossi
For us this collection (as any of the previous ones and those yet to be created) is all about making that one special dress for each very special bride to be and that one special happy occasion.
Q: How much time was needed to produce one gown (given that war happened and part of your employees were relocated)?
Usually it takes 2 to 3 months to create the whole collection; however, the timeline is subjective for each garment. Sometimes the idea for the dress comes just a couple of days before the final photoshoot, and those dresses eventually become bestsellers.
Many of our employees relocated to Poland, but the majority of them are still in Ukraine and keep on working. The making of this new collection definitely gave them hope and strength to go on!
Q: What is your target audience?
Anyone who’s getting married is our target audience! We have a totally unique approach, we call it Bridal-Non bridal model, which describes any bride, from a conservative one to a very fashion forward Gen Z bride.
Q: Please describe your loyal customers, the type of bride that chooses Milla Nova.
She is definitely a contemporary bride. This person keeps up with the times, follows and understands current trends, knows the difference between genuine and fake and aims to be different! She always knows what she wants and being happy in life is as important to her as being successful.
Q: Why does your bride choose Milla Nova?
We make each bride feel special!
Again, it’s all about that one special dress on that special day, for that very special bride to be! We know how important it all is for each client and make sure they feel it with us while wearing our garments. Our clients also appreciate the high quality of our hand-tailored dresses made to measure for each of them individually.
Q: Do Ukrainian brides continue to choose Milla Nova, even in such complicated circumstances?
No one believed in the possibility of it happening, and for each Ukrainian it was a shock, to say the least.
for each Ukrainian it was a shock
The first thing we took care of was the safety of our families, our team members and their families. We tried not to panic and follow the instructions of the approved business Continuity Plan.
We are Ukrainians. Our love for our country and belief in our victory are limitless. It gives us strength to continue working, supporting our economy and making brides happy. Life goes on and even in these dark times people find love, get married and plan future together. This zest for life is in our blood and is the driving force behind our Victory.
Our love for our country and belief in our victory are limitless
Q: Do you think the bridal market will remain the same after the war is over?
Right after the war started and our team accepted the new circumstances, we turned our production to making military uniforms.
Right after the war started we turned our production to making military uniforms
We’ve also been making donations and volunteering to support the army, the refugees and those who stayed in Ukraine. War most certainly took a toll on Ukraine’s economy, but we keep working and are ready to keep on working even more in order to rebuild it after the war is over.
Our team is 98% female, so we have a special love and support for all the brave and beautiful Ukrainian women who fight and work in the army and for those who stayed in their homes.
Q: Have you thought of any special projects dedicated to women who are at war?
Milla Nova has developed a common project together with ELLE Ukraine in order to support Ukrainian servicemen who are not only defending their homeland, but are also starting their own families during war.
Milla Nova has partnered with ELLE Ukraine
Svitlana and Max, Anastasiia and Albert, Kateryna and Vadym became a part of this heartwarming and very special project. The lovers hadn’t seen each other for several months, so this occasion became particularly moving for everybody involved. Milla Nova provided wedding dresses to the brides and together with the ELLE team organized a photoshoot for the newlyweds to capture the unforgettable genuine emotions.
All of them are united by love that knows no obstacles, even if there are sirens outside and they are hundreds of kilometers apart.
These are the stories of love that is always on time.