Blog: Leonie BarrieTurkish delights at Istanbul Fashion Week

Leonie Barrie | 31 August 2010

Atil Kutoglu

Atil Kutoglu

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New York, London, Paris, Milan...Istanbul? While it might still be premature to add this Turkish city to the list of the world's fashion capitals, the organisers of the latest Istanbul Fashion Week, believe they are already making important steps in getting noticed on the global stage.

The event, which took place over four days last week and was visited for the first time by just-style, is part of the industry's effort to build itself into a complete fashion hub, with its own designs, brands and collections to complement the country's long-standing manufacturing base.

Indeed, with apparel shipments worth US$12.9bn, Turkey already has a reputation as the world's fourth largest clothing exporter, and the second-largest supplier to the EU. But it also boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the world, it has a young and dynamic population, and is heading towards a per capita income of $25,000 - all of which make it an appealing destination for fashion firms vying to break into new markets.  

These facts are not lost either on German trade show organiser Igedo Company, which teamed with Istanbul Fashion Week to stage the first Collection Premiere Istanbul (CPI) alongside the catwalk events. This extra fair meant that a number of Turkish, European and international fashion brands - including the likes of Basler, Gerry Weber, G-Star Raw and Triumph - also got exposure to this vibrant market, and provided an e lure for visitors to the week-long fashion fest.

And it's fair to say they weren't disappointed. Istanbul is a magical city at the best of times, straddling the Bosphorus with its trendy bars, nightclubs and modern art venues sitting alongside a 1500-year history that includes the world's first Christian capital and the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Against such a backdrop, the fashion events lived up to expectations in the Tas¸kis¸la Technical University, a beautiful old stone building with lofty high ceilings, huge arched windows, marble floors and a huge courtyard decked out with sofas.

While some of Turkey's biggest design names were notable by their absence (Turkey's most talked about fashion export Hakaan Yildirim shows his collection in London), other names to watch include Bora Aksu, Bahar Korcan, Arzu Kaprol, Ozlem Suer, Hatice Gokce, Mehtap Elaidi, Gamze Saracoglu, Deniz Mercan, Atil Kutoglu, Ozgur Masur, Simay Bulbul, Ozlem Kaya, and Gunseli Turkay.

Also spotted was fashion eccentric (or should that be icon?) Anna Piaggi, the writer and creative consultant to Italian Vogue, models Alek Wek and Alessandra Ambrosio, DJ Alexandra Richards, and tennis star Anna Kournikova. 'Sex and the City' stylist Patricia Field is a fixture too, with a remit to "introduce Turkish brands and designers to the world and to turn Istanbul into an effective fashion centre." First, though, the moment seems to be about discovering all that Istanbul has to offer.  


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