When talking to fellow creatives, we often wonder: HOW DO THEY DO IT? To prevent Instagram stalking or doom-scrolling to figure out their secret sauces and success stories, we prefer to ask them face-to-face. Today: an unfiltered conversation with JULIE YARMOLIUK, FOUNDER and CREATIVE DIRECTOR of J’AMEMME. 


At the age of 20, Julie Yarmoliuk started her career in banking, driven by her first degree and her parents’ aspirations. It didn’t take long before she discovered the banking life (which she remembers as “boring and restrictive”) wasn’t aligned with her passions and wouldn’t make her happy in the long run. “Even small acts of self-expression – like red nail polish – weren’t allowed.” While her formal education in economics may not seem directly related to her current role in design, it has undoubtedly enriched her perspective. Understanding business principles and the inner workings of J’amemme has been invaluable so far. “It’s a reminder that every bit of education adds layers to our skill set and enhances our professional journey.”

Also, read: Sia Arnika: “As I get older, I feel more centered – and it shows in my designs”

As a child, Yarmoliuk’s dreams were full of magic and wonder. From owning a unicorn to living in a world filled with rainbows, Yarmoliuk’s ideal world wasn’t for highly sensitive people. With these dreams in mind and the lack of creative challenge at her banking job, Yarmoliuk entered the fashion industry in 2012, starting as a fashion buyer. “I entered the fashion industry fueled by my passion to infuse the world with vibrant hues and create something unique. My innate passion for creativity naturally led me to pursue design as a means of self-expression. Moreover, I felt a strong calling to showcase Ukrainian design’s uniqueness globally, contributing to its development.” And despite the designer not having formal fashion training (putting her in the same category as Simon Jacquemus, Miuccia Prada, Pierre Cardin, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Vivienne Westwood, among others), she always believed in her capabilities. “From a young age, I’ve always embraced hard work, which propelled me into senior roles within the companies I worked for. But as I evolved, I felt the constraints of corporate structures and decided to chart my course. That’s when the concept of J’amemme sparked.” Everything went fast from there; just two years after its launch, the brand won the L’Officiel Ukraine “Designer of the Year” award in 2019. 


In the past years, fashion has become more than a pursuit of happiness; Yarmoliuk now uses her creations as a beacon of hope. “I try to convey to the world that there is something beautiful among all the chaos and horror,” she told Vogue Philippines earlier. “We must work, raise our heads, and move forward.” It doesn’t come as a surprise that the past years have put their mark on her way of working. “They have significantly influenced my design process and perspective on fashion. Initially, my collections showcased vibrant colors, notably the absence of black. The impact of war has prompted a shift in my designs, infusing them with an emotional depth that reflects my feelings. Despite these changes, I remain true to my favorite elements – pleated fabrics and complex couture shapes, which continue to be the basis of my work.” The designer emphasizes that we won’t get anywhere without a strong sense of hope. “What inspires hope in me for the future is my firm belief in the possibility of brighter days. Yet, my greatest longing presently is for an end to the war. In hindsight, we often realize the simple joys we once took for granted. I sincerely hope to restore that innocent happiness and peace we once had.”

Julie Yarmoniuk

What has driven you to start designing? 

“My design journey was ignited during my time as a fashion buyer, often attending fashion weeks. It inspired me to create eye-catching looks that would splash in the press and among photographers. It led me to experiment with pleated textures, and I ordered two brightly colored dresses to be made to measure. The outcome surpassed expectations, with our dresses in the spotlight and widespread attention in magazines worldwide.”

Were you afraid of failing or spreading the word? 

“I believe that fear of failure can paralyze creativity. Instead, I channel my emotions into my work, drawing inspiration from the world around me. Every endeavor, successful or not, is a chance to evolve. I believe in the power of dedication and hard work to yield positive outcomes. It’s about focusing on what I can achieve rather than dwelling on potential setbacks.”

Yulie Yarmoniuk

How would you describe J’amemme’s aesthetic? 

“Our aesthetic is best described as wearable couture. We blend traditional craftsmanship with innovative technologies, showcasing modern architectural shapes and vibrant colors. Rather than relying on traditional couture elements like stones and intricate hand embroidery, we explore unique materials and textures, offering a contemporary interpretation of femininity. Our signature pleated texture adds a distinctive touch to each dress, akin to a fingerprint. We aim to demonstrate that couture can be accessible and contemporary while maintaining elegance and sophistication.”

Are there any Ukrainian traditions that inspire your way of working? 

“I am especially fascinated by the various Ukrainian hand embroidery techniques deeply rooted in our culture. In forthcoming collections, I aim to incorporate them, adding my vision and interpretation. While our current collections feature hints of embroidery, I want to delve a little deeper into this theme and bring to life new, exciting designs that showcase the beauty of Ukrainian craftsmanship.”

How do you generate ideas and bring them to life, from conceptualization to execution? 

“My creative journey begins with inspiration from diverse sources like nature, art, and architecture. I thrive on merging contrasting elements, seeking harmony within diversity. Understanding the emotion or message behind my designs is crucial. From there, we delve into the realization phase, employing a mix of materials, techniques, and technologies to bring ideas to fruition. The outcome is reflected in J’amemme collections, where each element has its unique identity and story.”

Who or what is currently on your mood board?

“Inspiration is everywhere for me, but I’m particularly drawn to the captivating artwork of Ukrainian illustrator Okhrim Sudomora. His intricate portrayal of micelles fascinates me, inspiring the textures, silhouettes, and color contrasts in our latest collection. Nature’s diversity also continually influences my designs, with its endless colors and shapes serving as a timeless wellspring of creativity.”

Are there any rules or rituals you live by?

“Family traditions are integral to my life. I prioritize spending quality time with my loved ones despite hectic schedules. Moreover, gratitude and cherishing each day are key principles in my approach to life.”

What insight or advice has been determinative for where you stand right now?  

“The pivotal insight guiding my journey is “Never give up, work hard.” It has become my motto, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and continuous growth on the path to success.”

Is there anything you would like to say to your younger self? 

“While unicorns may not exist, never fear dreaming big and striving for the highest goals. Embrace creativity, take risks, and don’t fear facing challenges; you will succeed. Treat mistakes as lessons—they are invaluable for personal growth. And never stop seeking knowledge—it’s the pathway to realizing your aspirations and achieving your dreams.”

Yulie Yarmoniuk

What excites you most about the future? 

“In envisioning the future, my greatest aspiration is ending war. My deep love for my country fuels this desire, and I can’t imagine myself as a refugee; it would break my heart. I’m optimistic that the future promises positive changes, leading to prosperity and happiness for our country.” | @jamemme