Why is it that some people are more drawn to foreign brands we’re completely unsure. Maybe it’s their “Hollywood appeal,” where the idea is more striking than the reality of it, or the fact that some think what is right in front of them is less tempting. Or maybe, we can take a different route and choose to celebrate one of the most successful local brands, Academia, and it’s head designer, Aslı Abbasoğlu…

Some designers choose to be the face of the brand as well as the name behind it; Diane Von Furstenberg might be one of the best example for this situation. It looks like you choose to be in the background. Can you describe your “relationship” with Academia?

The idea of choosing to be the face of a brand seems like an old concept to me. I would have continued with women who truly reflect the brand under a name like Academia Lovers or Academia Girls, even if the brand itself was mine as opposed to picking myself to be the face. At the same time, it’s not ideal to completely be in the background either; just like in a real relationship, it’s important to form a good balance. It would be insincere to deny the presence of the designers in the collections, considering all personal pleasures such as our personal picks of furniture for our homes to artist we love are reflected immensely in the collections.

Academia’s hype has a lot to do with the trusting relationship it has formed with clients. One finds themselves updating their wardrobe with new Academia merchandise every season once they become a part of the design, quality, style, and characteristic that makes one feel good of the brand. How did the brand evolve?

It’s really nice to hear this. We always create new collections thinking of the future, it evolves continually. However we don’t divert from the basis of the brand. The fact that the brand has a continuous growth and a style that doesn’t disappear within trends forms an intimate connection between us and our customers. Since Academia is a brand that believes in dynamic values, our customer knows that we won’t ever present them anything we’re not happy with. Isn’t that the relationship you have with all the brands that you love anyway?

Can you talk about the creative process behind a collection from trips you go on for inspiration to picking fabrics?

We are inspired by Academia collections, our environment, current affairs and most importantly, our own emotions. Maybe this is why it is so difficult to try to explain a collection to someone else.

It’s very important for us to hear the ideas of what we want to wear and how we want to style them from our Artistic Director Murat Türkili, our designer Çiğdem Keskin and myself before we start a new collection, and the appeal we have or don’t have for certain details. We are not interested in anything created for today, or about current trends, that would only pull us back.

Photography by Fora Norman
From songs that are reminiscent of one another to people that force themselves to “dress different,” being marginal is a big trend for today.Academia, on the other hand, has it’s own path that is very consistent. How is it do you think that marginal ideas have become so mainstream?

Having an original personality and being different is actually the best quality one can have. However it’s pretty funny to look like one another while forcing to express yourself differently. Whether I appreciate it or not, I love living within different styles. I am especially interested in things I don’t like. Though unfortunately you can’t completely be marginal in Turkey, we are a community that believes this is bad, even think that it should be punished.

Has anything / anyone you have seen recently changed your views on design?

Of course, every day! I am so inspired by people on Instagram who dress differently than popular street style names, who have a smaller followings, that are extraordinarily talented. Foreigners that seem “normal” abroad may look very inspirational looking at them from Turkey. It’s actually a sad situation.

It’s almost inevitable to be in fashion without having your mother as an inspiration. How much time did you use to spend in your mother’s closet? How did your childhood affect your profession?

I didn’t spend too much time with my mother’s clothing, however I was so impressed by her elegance, her mind and knowledge. I learned how to discover and evolve during my family and school life which gave me an advantage. I can’t imagine a time when there is no act of progress. As for my choice of profession, I don’t know, I think I always wanted to do this. My school had a liberal-arts kind of approach, even in middle school, I had the chance to discover different topics, and I continued with that feeling.

Dressing women might just be the hardest job… What part of your job excites you the most?

The fact that what you create lives on with the person wearing it, that it is styled differently than what you have in your mind, and that it created new emotions for the person wearing it.

What era would you wanted to live in when it comes to fashion?

I would want to live 15 years later from now to see how this satiation plays out in the future.

What would you say to someone who wants to be in fashion regarding “If only they knew about this”?

I would want them to know about the process between the idea of a clothing and it’s materialization, and the necessities of a professional life.

What do you think you will move on to once you design your final piece and put down your pen?

I want to be in my pool in the afternoon with a book in my hand, reciting out my favorite paragraph to my husband who is tanning. I read this in a Joan Didion novel and I can’t get the feeling of tranquility I get from it.

Bits and Pieces…

Black or white? Both.

Paris or New York? Paris.

Gala event or the most recent episode of your favorite show? First the gala, then the show.

Notebook or iPhone notebook? iPhone.

Summer style or winter style? Winter, but Autumn to be precise.

Leather or fur? Leather.

Your favorite creative director? Probably Phoebe Philo.