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Tetyana Chumak, founder of TG Botanical, an eco friendly Ukrainian brand

Tetyana Chumak, the brand's designer, finds beauty in nature's periodic destruction cycles. The chaotically sewn pieces with elastic thread that make up the bulk of the TG Botanical SS24 collection, in the designer's opinion, evoke the surface of the Earth and corroded metal.

This season Tetyana Chumak uses certified batiste, cottons, silks, organic nettle and linens for kinetic skirts, cargo trousers, daring tops and dresses. For the very first time the TG Botanical introduces accessories to the collection, which are made of an old nettle cloth, sourced from local artisans.

SPRING/SUMMER 2024. (All images: James Cochrane©)

All our collections are produced in-house and for each product, it is clear how and where it was made. This allows me to control the whole production chain and avoid harmful impact on the environment. - Tetyana Chumak, the brand's designer and founder.

You founded the brand during the first lockdown. How challenging was this process at the time?

Tetyana C.: To be honest, the process of creating the brand during the first lockdown was not so complicated, even though we had numerous restrictions, they can’t be compared to the ones that we received when the war in Ukraine started.

We had a 20-years old experience of curating a so-called Ukrainian mass-market brand TAGO and when the quarantine started it gave us a clear understanding that people don’t really need so much clothes. I felt that it's time to produce clothing with absolutely unique designs and benefits, which resulted in the birth of TG Botanical.

The whole process of establishing was a true pleasure for me and my team. It was absolutely about implementing my inner desire and never about sales or economics. We enjoyed the process with all our hearts.

What is your goal for the brand and its mission?

Tetyana: After 20 years of working in the fashion industry, I started wondering about its future and the final point that we were going to. I was feeling that the market was oversupplied by numerous brands and the amount of similar clothes was shockingly rising. It was a moment when I realized that I have missed the excitement of producing average clothes with commercial success. I was happy to see a totally different perspective – producing less for more. This means that it’s better to make one really chic dress from sustainable materials that could be timeless.

SPRING/SUMMER 2024. (All images: James Cochrane©)

My team and I set a goal of creating a sustainable brand that will help us to popularize the idea of conscious consumption. It was my inner desire to prove that clothes could and should be less harmful for the environment.

We started experimenting with modern technologies and implementing innovative organic fabrics into the production process. The main ambition was to make a brand with a unique philosophy based on responsibility, both ecological and social. TG Botanical is the result of following the passion of my heart and I believe that its name speaks for itself: about its origin, mission, strategy and existence.

How do you expand your natural fabrics research while maintaining your competitiveness?

Tetyana: I believe that it is hard to use the word “competitiveness” when we are talking about sustainable fashion, because personally for me this sphere is about supporting and encouraging both customers and brands. We strive to make our planet a better place to live and fight against this constant race for being better than someone.

To produce TG Botanical pieces we use hemp, linen and organic cotton. Speaking of expanding the list of the natural fabrics, our team, from the beginning of the TG botanical journey, decided to work on the creation of sustainable alternatives that could be used for the TG Botanical pieces.

I aim to promote the idea of “grown clothes” that will live forever passed down through generations. TG Botanical is committed to developing and integrating new material processes, as well as traditional dyeing techniques into every collection as well as reducing the impact of the brand on the environment season by season.

Why do you insist on working with eco-materials and even experimental techniques for dyeing? How does this enhance your creative process and the final product and its textures?

Tetyana: The name of the brand speaks for itself. TG Botanical is about clothes from the environment, from botany. In each collection we play with the elements of nature. This is reflected not only in the use of eco-materials and special herbal dyeing techniques, but also in the textures/patterns of the products.

I believe that the importance of creating eco-friendly materials is high on a global scale, but the fashion industry definitely takes a special place here. There always were and always be shopaholics, that sincerely can’t be saturated by fashion, but I feel that we could make a little change about this. We could keep fashion and shopaholism and switch it to a high-quality organic material that will be less harmful to the environment.

Also my team uses experimental techniques for dyeing fabrics with plant pigments obtained from tansy flowers, acorns, onion husks and coffee beans. This allows us to obtain a unique variety of colors and textures using environmentally-friendly materials.

Thanks to the occupation of your family, you have an opportunity to research technologies for the production of fabrics. Could you elaborate on this and what are your favorite fabrics for the SS24?

Tetyana: All our collections are produced in-house and for each product, it is clear how and where it was made. This allows me to control the whole production chain and avoid harmful impact on the environment.

The brand is dedicated to further research and development of new fabrics and techniques. For example, during the creation of our second collection, our technologists found a way to implement a coat design with faux fur made from hemp. We have a goal to achieve our own certificates for dying techniques and fabrics in the near future. But for now TG Botanical works with reliable fabric suppliers that have an international certification of Global Recycled Standard.

I’m obsessed with our knitwear. It is presented in each of our collections and will always be. I feel that it will most likely remain my favorite in the future collection as well, but this time it will be a bit different. And what exactly this difference will be, we will see next season.

Could you comment on why CPHFW is the right platform for your brand?

Tetyana: Copenhagen is a city of absolutely progressive and sustainable fashion, which totally resonates with the DNA of our brand. From the very beginning, TG Botanical has received incredible support at Copenhagen Fashion Week. It all started from the very first presentation of the brand as a part of the Official Presentation&Event Schedule. During the second press-breakfast, Cecilie Thorsmark, CEO of CPHFW, personally visited us and expressed her sincere sympathy to TG Botanical and its pieces. This was a true blessing for me and my team, I will remember this day forever!

The next season, AW23, we became finalists of the Zalando Sustainability Award which gave us an opportunity to make our first runway show. It was existing and incomparable. For this show we had double support – CPHFW and Zalando. This gave me a clear understanding that every effort that we are putting into TG Botanical is totally worth it!

And the fact that we have received so many kind words and feedback from the fashion community for our Spring/Summer 24 Runway Show collection is further proof that TG Botanical is a perfect fit for such an influential brand as Copenhagen Fashion Week. But of course there is always room for improvement.

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