A Turkish designer occupying the headlines of London… Bora Aksu is not only a name to be proud of as a Turk, but a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry. A designer who is highly influenced by his childhood on his native land, he has merged Izmir with London effortlessly and put forth a unique designing style… So who is this man?

A Turkish designer occupying the headlines of London… Bora Aksu is not only a name to be proud of as a Turk, but a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry. A desig- ner who is highly influenced by his childhood on his native land, he has merged Izmir with London effortlessly and put forth a unique deigning style… So who is this man?

“You don’t just design from 9 to 5 and stop when the job is done… Being a designer is a 24 hour, 7 day job; you have to be absorbed in it every second.”

You say “London treated me well”… How was your connection formed? Can you tell us how did you embrace London and how you made yourself be embraced in return?

London is the place where I got my education as a designer; got accepted as a designer; I also got awarded, and was highly encouraged there… My identity as a designer was constructed and developed during my university and masters education in Central Saint Martins in London and because of the awards and sponsorships I received. Of course talent and education are important, but apart from them, to be at the right time at the right place also has a great importance. The masters in Central Saint Martins was a place where my talent was formed and it was the point where my life changed. My career started with the responses I received for my graduation show. The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian presented me as the star of the graduation show and the Dolce Gabbana duo bought my collection after that. These can be accepted as my first steps into the fashion world. To be awarded four times in a row with “The new generation” award which was only given to four people by the British Fashion Council was a great step for me to create my brand. This award also helped me to get into international fashion weeks and receive sponsorships for my fashion shows.

I’ve been living in London for almost 20 years. I started took my place on the official list of London Fashion Week in 2003. Wherever I go, my atelier in the city has become a place of production, creativity, and inspiration for me.

How does your design process develop?

There is an organic construction in my design process; I can’t just say “the season is approaching, I need to start researching and designing” and start the process… You have to constantly upgrade, get inspired, and filter the information according to your aesthetic to be a good designer. For me, this is an ongoing process,; it has no beginning or end accor- ding to the seasons.

You don’t just design from 9 to 5 and stop when the job is done… Being a designer is a 24 hour, 7 day job; you have to be absorbed in it every second. that’s why maybe the most important thing to have is love towards your job.. If you put the right amount of love and time in your designs, your customers feel it through the pieces.

Your Autumn/Winter is inspired by Oscar Wilde’s romantic and tragic story “The Nightingale and the Rose”. The collection has a fragile soul just like the story. What was it that stimulated you in this story?

Where I get my inspirations somehow always dates back to my childhood. Even though they are sometimes very melancholic, I’ve always found a naive tenderness in Oscar Wilde stories, which reminds me of my childhood.

For my Winter 2015-16 collection one of my main focus points was to transform the story’s fragility into the fabrics I used. Although textiles with gold work and luxury leathers create a tougher dimension; silk veils and organza fabrics form a softer and more delicate silhouette… The color palette of the collection is ruled by an elegant, royal and nostalgic atmosphere. Where gold, blue and grey tones create a quieter combination; dirty pink and dramatic blacks construct a more spectacular palette. Embroidery and laser cuts that are inspired by bird wings, roses, and cage designs dominate all the collection.

How does sticking to a certain style aesthetic affect the creativity of a fashion designer? Do you think it limits creativity?

For a designer to find his identity means finding a fingerprint that will distinguish him from other designers… The most important point in my design career was finding it. You create new textures, colors and even new forms every season using the same identity… Since I don’t care for trends, all that’s left is my inner voice and to believe in the truth of my path..

The aspect of art in your designs and your artwork… The paintings/illustrations of Bora Aksu are as striking as his collections. How do these two disciplines affect one another or feed off of each other?

Illustration and drawing was a part of my life long before fashion was.. I remember having a pen and paper all the time and drawing for hours without being bored when I was younger.. I always had a visual memory. Even now, when I want to explain something to my team or I’m in the process of developing a new concept, I show it by drawing. Drawing comes so naturally to me.. That’s why it effortlessly goes hand in hand with fashion. I use drawing not only for defining clothes, but also in creating and defining the girl of Bora Aksu..

Taking into consideration your vision on artistic expression and creativity, we would like to know how your childhood was.

I remember my childhood being very calm and happy. I remember my mother and father working all the time because both of them were doctors.. Since I grew up in Izmir, my childhood is decorated with memories of Gümüldür, Foça, Çeşme and summer houses in those towns.. With my imagination I pictured myself traveling to the places I used to draw. I guess these worlds are the foundations of my current identity as a designer.

Is there a figure that influenced your inclination towards fashion?

As a child, my mother was a real muse for me. One of my mother’s attributes was her interest in fashion besides her intense medicine practice.. My mother always wanted to be different and look different, so all her clothes were tailor-made and as she was so into it she would knit amazing dresses.

Currently my friends and women around me feed me. Leith Clark, whom I work with in my shows, is a great inspiration for me. Women of Bora Aksu are naughty and they are women who discovered their femininity later; young girls who climb to trees like tomboys; those who roll in the mud…

When you consider the speed and development of fashion today, how do the rules of the industry affect your creativity process?

This might be the most difficult part of fashion. You have to control your creativity to fit into a very tight schedule.

How do you renew yourself and your mind every collection?

I try to constantly feed and renew myslef visually and mentally. That’s why it’s important to travel to new places and experience new cultures.. It’s important that a designer somehow keeps one’s self fresh and new. You need to be very passionate about your job.

Fashion icon that you admire?

Charlotte Rampling

Most effective period of fashion?

30’s.

Favorite magazine?

It used to be Lula, but now the new Violet magazine which Leith Clark recently established.

A favorite song in your Playlist?

Blue from First Aid Kit.

The sexiest thing a women could wear?

Anything that she feels comfortable in and she identifies herself with.. It’s more important to carry something rather than wearing it. I think the only thing that makes a woman sexy is that she feels good in what she wears.