Hakan Yıldırım is a designer who isn’t afraid of change, accepting of failure, continuously self-constructive, outspoken, open-hearted, and positive… Most importantly, he is an absolutely gifted person. This time we sat down with just to listen; to learn and be a part of his high-spirited journey…

Before anything else, let’s talk about your new collection that we’re really excited about…

SS 2017 is sea and marine themed. It takes it’s inspiration from ship and deck workers rather than the vacationers. The working class lifestyle is in the origin of it all. Without any compromise from the Hakaan Yıldırım brand’s luxurious fabric and details, the collection is more oversized and includes lines, rope, and boat patterns along with a red, yellow, navy and blue color palette.

You have a never-ending work schedule; when you’re not working on your collection, you constantly get stage costume or couture gown orders…

We prepare two main collections at least each year. Apart from that, there is a daily routine here: working on private orders. When I have time left from those, I try to come up with new things for the store. I spend most of my days with dress rehearsals, or other preparations for clients.

There is a ceremony within the team and myself when creating a collection or preparing dresses for a client. I never just hand out a drawing and expect the dress to be fully done in return; I am always included in the process from A to Z. When pieces are being sewn, I both enjoy and also feel the need of being updated on them. Only then do I get the chance to work on each detail the way I want to. Even when a piece is being embroidered, it’s embroidery or choice of beed is picked as a team. At the end of the day everything is run through you, which actually saves me time; I can alter things that I dislike at an earlier stage this way.

I have a more excited occupancy at the moment: I am in the works f opening a store, which was our goal when we first moved here. In October, I will be launching a new 40-piece sweatshirt collection that appeals to a younger crowd.

Although this job pays a mental and physical toll, what is it that brings you back everyday with a smile on your face?

I guess it has to do with being productive because I really have fun working. I believe I don’t have anything in my hands other than my work; it really motivates me. If I am able to put forth a new idea / product / work daily, I feel that I am more of use that way. The most important thing for me is being productive and serving a purpose in life. When you’re productive, you feel better.

If there is one change in your designs, that is; instead of clothing that highlights body curves, you also design baggy and even “oversized” items. How did your taste change over time?

I guess I don’t like to see a woman dressed up in flashy clothing, especially in main collections. My collections are my biggest freedom arena; I can put it on a rack and only someone that want’s shops that that ready-to-wear piece.

Over time, I changed and got more comfortable myself. I think I got really bored of fitted things. I can say that I realized we should be more comfortable.

“If I am able to put forth a new idea / product / work daily, I feel that I am more of use that way. The most important thing for me is being productive and serving a purpose in life.”

The Hakan Yıldırım women changed along with you. Who is the Hakan Yıldırım woman now?

Yes, the woman also changed. Actually, I matured that woman. Also took her out of the skin-tight mindset; I like voluminous clothing, I want to see grander things. I steered towards the feeling of a ball in this sense, I started to like that kind of aesthetic.

Although you’re in the forefront with your gowns you are very much involved with sweatshirts. Where does this come from?

I came up with the sweatshirt project as I enjoy wearing sweatshirts and t-shirts. I think it’s the most comfortable, cool, and elegant item to wear in the world. First of all, it’s something you can easily wear with anything.

Remember that recurring question, “What is your must have?” The answer used to be “The little black dress.” Right now I think the answer is a sweatshirt; it can be combined with a tight skirt, a mini short, skinny leg or baggy pants…
A sweatshirt is a very magical thing for my personal life. Actually I asked myself how come I don’t share something I love so much with my consumers. Why wouldn’t I share this feeling after seeing it on many people?

You worked with the most popular models of our time; Kate Moss, Natalia Vodianova, Lara Stone, to name a few. What do you think is the difference between foreign and local models?

When we look at our country, we are not a country that produces models. Back in the day, there were really pretty girls walking runways in Turkey, but not so much in recent years. Abroad, girls start to go down the modeling road from the age of 13, going to castings. They change over time. There are so many amazing girls… The magical, lucky, and different ones go on a new direction to become supermodels. But the important thing here is that whether the model is a good match for your collection or not. Supermodel or not, if an item from the collection doesn’t fit the model, she doesn’t get casted.

I think the most important quality in these girls is the time they put into becoming something… They strive to their limits… Take Gisele; nobody knew her in the 90’s, she was discovered in the 2000s. Imagine how long a period that is… Doesn’t matter if you’re Karlie Kloss, or Natasha Poly, or Cara; everybody comes, waits in castings, walks, gets selected / doesn’t get selected. They wait from 7 till 11 in the morning if they have to and they don’t have an attitude. That’s the difference. The difference is the culture, the difference is the effort.

While bloggers had a big say in the future of fashion a few years go, Instagram has taken over that roll now. What do you think about social media?

I’m slowly trying; I’m still not good at using it personally, I haven’t gotten used to it yet.

In terms of it’s power over the world, I think it is very important while being very cruel at the same time. Although some share their love and admiration, others share an excruciating amount of hatred. I also see many weird things. As Andy Warhol once said; everyone will be famous for 15 minutes… Social media is similar to this, that’s what people are after.


Unfortunately the Turkish fashion scene approach has an undermining manner, yet the strong bond you and some of your friends share never seem to fade into negativity. Where is the future of fashion going here?

What’s most valuable to me is, do you earn money and do your job properly; do you provide the necessary service and make your client happy? Frankly, this is my only concern: this is what success is. Everyone in my friend circle are more than capable of this. If I could help people advance in their career and exist in this world, I am always ready to do that; as long as they are willing to. At the end of the day, nobody changes no one with a negative attitude.

What is the phrase you use the most in your daily life?


Photo by Fora Norman