How Turkish Designers Make an Impact On and Offline

This season, the Turkish style scene has confronted a myriad of demanding situations, from the continued Covid-19 disaster and geopolitical conflicts in within sight nations, to persevered provide chain disruption, an unseasonably chilly climate entrance halting manufacturing, and a countrywide financial disaster, as Turkish inflation hit a 20-year excessive of 54 % this March, in keeping with the Monetary Instances.

In spite of such stumbling blocks, established and rising Turkish design ability displayed with resilience and optimism at Style Week Istanbul this season, temporarily adopting hybrid occasions and presentation methods to enlarge upon and future-proof their world achieve this season.

The go back of bodily presentations to the agenda, held in ancient venues like an Ottoman Palace and a 160-year outdated Crimean church, had been interspersed with an interactive electronic providing, in addition to exhibitions, panel discussions and pop-up occasions on the newly opened Galataport at the Bosphorus.

Match organisers — Istanbul Attire Exporters Affiliation, or İHKİB, Turkish Style Designers’ Affiliation (MTD) and Istanbul Style Academy (IMA) — partnered with Soho Area Istanbul, the place occasions had been live-streamed in an intimate, in-person screening enjoy for native and visiting business individuals. World audiences may just then attach on-line by the use of FWI’s electronic occasions hub.

In Istanbul, there was once a palpable sense of renewed power on the bodily match activations and screenings, as attendees navigated inclimate stipulations to sign up for their neighborhood in user as soon as once more. Whilst some remained extra tentative, the sense of enthusiasm prevailed.

“[We] neglected being in combination,” says menswear clothier Niyazi Erdoğan. “The power is excessive, and everyone needs to wait the presentations.”

Under, BoF meets with 10 rising and established designers at their style week occasions and activations to know the way their occasions and branding methods are evolving this season in Istanbul.

Sudi Etuz

Şansım Adalı studied in Brussels prior to launching Sudi Etuz. The clothier champions a digital-first method, focusing extra as of late on her electronic trade and downsizing the textiles trade. She makes use of digital truth fashions, electronic artists and AI engineers, with an NFT pill assortment and restricted runs of bodily clothes.

Webhosting her display within the Crimean Memorial Church within the Galata neighbourhood of Istanbul, Şansım Adalı’s electronic designs had been modelled by way of electronic avatars and displayed on 8ft-high monitors. Having misplaced her father to Covid, she defined it nonetheless “doesn’t really feel proper” to have many of us in combination for a runway display. As a substitute, she leveraged her electronic fashions in a smaller display house.

“It’s a in point of fact other enjoy, to get a electronic exhibition in an outdated development website,” she advised BoF. “I just like the distinction of it. Everyone is aware of this church, however no person entered inside of. The brand new era doesn’t even know those puts exist. So, I simply sought after to peer the more youthful era inside of, to keep in mind that we have now this gorgeous structure.”

The electronic show was once accompanied by way of a reside opera efficiency, with the singer dressed in one in all a make a selection few bodily clothes Adalı is making as of late — however predominantly, Sudi Etuz intends to stick digitally targeted.

“My destiny plan is simply holding this textile facet of my emblem in point of fact small as a result of I don’t suppose the sector wishes any other emblem doing mass manufacturing. I’m that specialize in electronic tasks. I’ve a group of laptop engineers, electronic artists, and garment artists. My design group is all Gen-Z, and I attempt to simply perceive them, to watch them, and to hear them.”


Gökay Gündoğdu moved to New York to review Emblem Control prior to attending Milan’s Domus Academy in 2007. Gündoğdu labored in Italy prior to launching his womenswear emblem TAGG — The Angle by way of Gökay Gündoğdu — in 2014. Stockists come with Luisa By the use of Roma and his e-commerce website, introduced throughout the pandemic.

TAGG introduced this season’s assortment as a digitally augmented museum exhibition: “We used a QR code and augmented truth generation to peer reside movement photos popping out of a wall placing — a video model of a nonetheless image, like a runway display,” Gündoğdu advised BoF.

“I’m now not a electronic user in any respect,” he says, but throughout the pandemic, “we did the whole lot digitally. We made our site extra reachable, extra comprehensible. We introduced collections on [wholesale management platform] Joor, and reached new purchasers and accounts in The united states, Israel, Qatar, Kuwait.”

In spite of his good fortune, touchdown world accounts has nonetheless confirmed difficult for TAGG this season. “World press and consumers at all times wish to see one thing Turkish from us. I don’t in point of fact use cultural parts — my aesthetic is extra minimalist,” he says. However to enchantment to an world target audience, Gündoğdu took inspiration from the Turkish Palaces, imitating their structure and interiors in the similar colors, textures and silhouettes.

The commercial disaster has additionally performed a job in shaping his assortment this season: “The Turkish lira is dropping its energy, so the whole lot may be very dear. To import materials from out of the country is traumatic. The federal government says you shouldn’t be riding pageant between the international material producers and the home marketplace. It’s important to pay further taxes to import.” In consequence, the clothier combined in the neighborhood sourced materials and the ones imported from Italy and France.

Y Plus

The inventive director Yakup Bicer introduced his label Y Plus in 2019 as a unisex emblem after 30 years running within the Turkish design business. Y Plus won its world debut at London Style Week in February 2020.

Yakup Bicer’s electronic assortment for his Autumn/Iciness ‘22-23 assortment was once encouraged by way of the “nameless keyboard heroes of the crypto anarchism ideology and its defenders,” with a message to offer protection to political freedom on social media platforms.

“I wish to proceed [presenting] digitally for some time,” he tells BoF. “It was once a really perfect waste of time and financially tiring to get consumers in combination throughout style weeks as we did prior to now. Now, we will be able to achieve each and every a part of the sector on the similar time with the rush of a button with electronic shows.”

Outdoor of generation, Bicer is leveraging native productions to triumph over provide chain disruption — and in doing so, hoping to provide extra sustainable practices too. “We’ve got confronted commute restrictions and now warfare in our [region of the world], so the shipment issues it creates impacts our entire business. […] By means of running with native manufacturing, we make sure that our [work] is [more] sustainable, and [we] scale back our carbon footprint.”

Cube Kayek

Ece and Ayse Ege introduced their emblem Cube Kayek in 1992. Prior to now with its manufacturing in Paris, the label joined the Fédération Française de l. a. Couture in 1994 and received the Jameel Prize III, an world award for modern artwork and design encouraged by way of Islamic traditions, in 2013. The label just lately relocated its atelier to Istanbul and has 90 world stockists.

Sisters Ece and Ayse Ege of Cube Kayek introduced their assortment this season in a manner video — a now acquainted electronic layout for them, having began developing style movies in 2013. “Motion pictures are extra like a e book in your shelf — you’ll at all times re-open it and come again to it. It has extra worth. In 10 or 12 years, you’ll watch it once more. We desire the number of it,” Ece advised BoF.

These days, Cube Kayek is promoting the world over in Europe, the United States, the Heart East and China. Thru their shop in Paris, they weave in Turkish website hosting customs as an experiential retail option to differentiate their shoppers’ enjoy in-store. “You’ll’t compete any place with those giant maisons and there is not any use in doing so,” says Ayse, who says the logo has plans to open any other shop in London this 12 months.

Having in the past run their operations from Paris, the sisters relocated to Istanbul, with their atelier hooked up to their showroom in Bomonti. Bringing their operations absolutely in-house, Cube Kayek has observed manufacturing transform extra successful, “which we weren’t in a position to have once we had been generating in any other manufacturing unit.” In bringing manufacturing in-house, the sisters additionally hope to make stronger and maintain Turkish craftsmanship inside their collections.

Niyazi Erdoğan

A founding clothier of Style Week Istanbul in 2009, and deputy chair of the Turkish Style Designers affiliation, Niyazi Erdoğan could also be a lecturer on the Istanbul Style Academy. Along his menswear line, he established an equipment emblem NIYO in 2014, which received a Eu Museum award that very same 12 months.

Niyazi Erdoğan introduced his menswear line via a electronic exhibit this season: “All of us create digitally now — we’re doing presentations within the Metaverse or as an NFT. We’re promoting that assortment on the similar time digitally and bodily, entering into two instructions. We wish to be waiting for the long run in each,” he advised BoF.

For subsequent season, then again, he says, “I believe we need to do a bodily display. Style is attached with society and feeling, folks love to be in combination. For inventive folks, we’d like this.”

Throughout the pandemic, the logo created its on-line store and modified their collections to transform “extra sellable” on-line, and to account for the alternate in client call for throughout the pandemic. He’s noticing a shift on this client base too: “I see my menswear clothes is promoting to girls as neatly, so there are not any obstacles.”

As a lecturer at IMA, Erdoğan is incessantly finding out from the following era. “With generations like Alpha, if you happen to’re within the style trade, you need to perceive them. My imaginative and prescient is to know their wishes, to be strategic in sustainability, in electronic, in colors, in cuts, in shapes — we need to be attractive with them.”

Nihan Peker

An MA graduate from Istituto Marangoni, Nihan Peker labored for the likes of Frankie Morello, Colmar and Furla prior to launching her eponymous label in 2012, designing ready-to-wear, bridal and couture collections. She has exhibited at London, Paris and Milan style week.

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of her emblem this season, Nihan Peker staged a runway display within the Çırağan Palace, a former Ottoman Imperial Palace grew to become lodge having a look onto the Bosphorus. “It was once essential for me to offer the gathering in a spot I dreamed of,” Peker advised BoF. “After ten years, I believe that I will be able to fly extra freely and exceed my limits.”

“It took me some time to turn out myself in my nation,” provides Peker, whose entrance row this season seated Turkish celebrities dressed in designs from her earlier collections. Across the world, “issues are attending to the proper puts,” she says, with a rising presence within the Heart East.

“All Turkish designers, once in a while, must believe the problem of our location. Frankly, as a rustic, we need to maintain larger social and political issues, so all folks can lose our motivation as neatly. My center of attention is now on developing a brand new wearable, manufacturable class with each my ready-to-wear and couture collections.”

Selen Akyuz

After graduating from Istanbul Style Academy in 2014, Akyuz studied a masters in menswear design at Istituto Marangoni in Milan. She labored for Ermenegildo Zegna and Gown Nationwide prior to returning to Turkey in 2016 and launching her menswear emblem in 2018.

For her 6th display this season, Selen Akyuz produced a movie screened at Soho Area Istanbul and on-line: “It’s a film, so it’s now not an actual runway display, however I believe it’s nonetheless efficient. It’s emotional on the similar time.”

As a small-scale, made-to-measure trade, Akyuz is slowly development out a small buyer base the world over, with purchasers now in the United States, Romania and Albania. “I don’t wish to be leaping in at all times, however take it slowly, step by step, to take a measured method,” she says. “We produce the whole lot at my desk. There’s no large mass manufacturing. Almost the whole lot is finished by way of my hand” — together with developing T-shirts, hats, equipment and baggage of “patchwork, leftover materials” to advertise extra sustainable design practices.

This scaled down method extends to her manufacturing companions. “As a substitute of running with the large producers, I’m at all times in search of smaller and native tailors to make stronger my emblem, however it’s in point of fact onerous to seek out certified applicants.” Craftspeople the use of conventional tactics are onerous to seek out — with restricted uptake from the following era of staff.

Gökhan Yavaş

Gökhan Yavaş graduated from DEU Fantastic Arts Textile and Style Design in 2012 and studied at IMA, prior to launching his personal streetwear-inspired menswear emblem in 2017. The logo is recently taking part with the likes of DHL.

This season, Gökhan Yavaş showcased a brief video and runway display — his first in 3 years. “We in point of fact neglected it — it’s time to speak to folks once more. We are hoping to proceed with bodily runway presentations as a result of on Instagram, verbal exchange is getting more difficult. It’s extra essential to peer each and every different, to listen to others’ evaluations head to head,” the clothier stated.

The logo is updating its manufacturing philosophy. “We’ve got stopped the use of actual leather-based and actual fur,” he explains, with the primary 3 seems of the gathering a patchwork of offcuts from scarves made in an previous assortment. Yavaş additionally has an upcoming collaboration with DHL, designing a raincoat with gross sales going to an environmental charity.

A sustainable center of attention has confirmed difficult for the label, with the primary hurdle in finding smaller metres of materials from providers. “It’s important to order at least 15 metres for one material from the providers, which is our largest problem.” Their 2d problem is finding retail outlets in Turkey to promote menswear merchandise, with native consumers that specialize in Turkish womenswear designers. Nonetheless, whilst the logo sells via their site and in world retail outlets in Canada and London, their center of attention is subsequent on Asia — particularly South Korea and China.


The wearable artwork emblem Bashaques was once based in 2014 by way of Başak Cankeş. The logo sells swimming wear and kimonos within the motifs of its paintings.

“Usually, I do efficiency arts collaborations with wearable arts items,” the inventive director Başak Cankeş advised BoF in a while after presenting her newest assortment in a 45-minute documentary screened at Soho Area Istanbul.

The exhibit tells the tale of her adventure to Peru and Colombia to paintings with their artisans, taking Anatolian motifs and symbols, and “asking them how they really feel about Anatolian [prints].” With a shared cultural heritage of Shamanism, the gathering explores the shared craft practices between Anatolia in Asian Turkey, and within the South American nations.

“Roughly 60 % of the gathering is only one piece, all hand-woven by way of the ladies in Peru and Anatolia,” she says.

Promoting to artwork creditors in Turkey, with passion in some shoppers to make a museum assortment from her items, Cankeş explains she is “now not occupied with being an international emblem as it’s very onerous to be world and sustainable. I don’t wish to do even 10 items from any assortment, apart from swimming wear or kimonos. It is a entire conceptual, variable artwork assortment, and we can additionally put this to NFT. I see myself extra as an artist, now not a manner clothier.”

Karma by way of İMA

The Karma collective represents rising ability from the Istanbul Moda Academy — a manner college established in 2007 that gives levels in Style Design, Era and Product Construction, Style Control and Style Communique and Media.

This season, the Karma designers are Ezgi Yıldırım, Beyza Eyüboğlu and Aycan Hakalmaz.

“The primary factor I’ve had is with the elements stipulations, as it’s been so snowy those final two weeks, so we have now had a lot of issues of the provision chain and sourcing materials too,” Hakalmaz advised BoF. She created the gathering for her emblem Regulate Ego, proven as a part of the Karma collective, in simply two weeks whilst additionally designing for style residence Nocturne.

Hakalmaz could also be turning clear of technological answers to make stronger her manufacturing procedure, announcing, “I don’t like the use of generation, and keep as some distance clear of it as conceivable, as I’d relatively do hand-crafting to stick attached to the previous.”

Disclosure: Sophie Bounce travelled to Istanbul as a visitor of Style Week Istanbul.

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