As high profile as the four major Fashion Weeks are, not everyone is able to present in New York, London, Milan or Paris. Cities as varied as Sydney, Seoul, Tblisi and Moscow have all experimented with the format, with international designers perfectly comfortable showing closer to home.
Istanbul is another one of those under-the-radar cities nurturing a new wave of designers, with their own Fashion Week to boot. Şansım Adalı, founder of emerging ready-to-wear label Sudi Etuz, has been showing there since the brand's inception in 2016.
Known for its conceptual take on prêt-a-couture, the brand has made a name for itself regionally for its signature origami tulles and rich patterns. It has also embarked on collaborations with the likes of Coca-Cola, Bobbi Brown and Reebok.
Adalı, who studied in Brussels before launching her label, presented her latest collection again as part of Fashion Week Istanbul, which is showing virtually for the second time. PAPER caught up with the designer to talk about the digital technology she incorporated this season, the fashion community in Turkey and how her brand has evolved over the years.
Can you describe the fashion community in Turkey and what makes it unique?
Turkey has outstanding historical, conceptual and sociological values which are mixed with thousands of cultures and this is always a great source for any discipline apart from fashion. The designers in Turkey are such in kinesis with their design, production, and presentation processes. Also, due to the fast and powerful changes in Turkey, we are quite scudded in their minds which brings different tastes in each season. And from the anthropological way, the multicultural people of Turkey have changing societal needs and they want to adopt those emotions to their appearance, lifestyle. So they always following the fashion, clothing and even textile trends.
How does being based in Turkey influence your work and design process?
This land has endless materials to offer for creative minds. It is really east of the west, west of the east... As a local designer, I believe that we are obliged to bring the special muses in Turkey to a global audience. I would like to explain this with our fashion show performances, for example "Çiçek Pasajı" and "Unkapanı Plakçılar Çarşısı" are two venues that directly show two different structures in Istanbul. One of the Late Ottoman Period, a Western influence, and the other is the symbol of the production power in modern Turkey. This completes the perfect silhouette on our design process. The color palette, patterns and textures of the collections – even though it's feminine – are very suitable for the intricate with a reference to genderlessness.
How did you approach designing your latest collection and what was the inspiration?
In ancient Turkish mythology, it was thought that the world was rotated by dragons. From that, the word: "universe" (Evren) derived from dragons (Eviren-Ejderha). From that starting point, we layered together all those historical emotions, Asian landscapes and Turkish origins. The collection is a colorful mixture of Asian patterns, marks of Turkish mythology in such different ways. It also brings feelings from underground game raving to mountain lake sakuras, from Aikido movements to ancient dragons. We are offering a super comfy day indoors with soft hand-knitted tops, wide open pants, loose denims, and protective outdoor looks with kimono puffers, maxi length oversized coats and silky printed shirts. It was such a dream to explore Asia, our local heritage where it came from in some ways, having a true voyage to the deep of modern culture.
How has your brand evolved over the years?
The fashion reflection of my design consciousness showed itself with the establishment of my brand when I completed my education in Brussels. The story, texture, colors and stance of my brand, which I presented fully in 2016 with the right decision at the right time, was a reflection of what had accumulated until that year. Since then I always try to add technology to my collections. We shot the first VR show in Turkey with the aim of presenting local to global. Then, we add industrial design collaborations to apparel, such as Bobbi Brown, Coca-Cola etc. Then, last season we launched our very first avatar character, "Sui-D," who is a virtual astrologist. Now we also have our "Trinity" character as the model of Sudi Etuz. Also, with last season we start to make 3D garment samples to avoid fabric waste.
What's it like to show during Istanbul Fashion Week?
It's such an excitement. My first debut was with Fashion Week Istanbul. Since then, I never missed a season and each season I tried to evolve my practice with adding different flavors and different disciplines. We also never give up on presenting our local heritage as much as we try to showcase ourselves. Istanbul Fashion Week is also a creative unique platform to show what we do and how we do to global audience. I'm glad to be a part of this digital design scene/
Photos courtesy of Sudi Etuz