In response to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces under the command of the dictator Vladimir Putin, luxury brands have begun to pull their business out of the country.

When Putin pulled the trigger to start war with Ukraine, there were immediate calls for world leaders to step in and begin delivering the kind of sanctions that would give the Russian government cause to stop its war against Ukraine. While most have vocally announced their opposition to the invasion, the action taken has been slow to make an impact.

Slightly swifter to action was the rousing of major brands who have shown their stance against Russia and Putin by withholding their products and services from the country.

Chanel, Hermès, LVMH-owned brands Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy; Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Brioni from the Kering stable as well as Richemont’s Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Jaeger-LeCoultre have confirmed that they will cease operations within Russia effective immediately, closing their stores across the country.

IKEA, Nike, Jaguar Land Rover, Coca-Cola and even Apple have all joined in the economic protest, sanctioning the country for as long as it continues its war against the independence of Ukraine. Fans of the aforementioned fashion brands won’t just find local stores closed, but will be blocked from online purchasing. 

E-commerce sites Yoox Net-A-Porter, MyTheresa and Farfetch have all confirmed that they will no longer be shipping orders to Russia.

Which is great PR for the brands in question, and a sign of solidarity for the invaded country. But this shutdown is a more complex response than simply refusing to supply a country with their favourite products until the people revolt.

For starters, anyone who is able to afford Cartier jewellery or casually treat themselves to the latest Louis is most likely able to leave Russia to do so. Or organise private purchases. While Russia has seen a boom in their middle class, bringing it alignment with the rest of Europe, the country still retains a gap between them and their wealthiest citizens.

Ultimately, while the intentions behind these shutdowns and sanctions are good, they could end up really only impact those who can least afford it – the staff who work in the stores.

While most brands and companies have confirmed that they are working closely with their teams and will continue to pay their local staff as usual, how long this offer stays on the table remains to be seen.