In your appearance at Istanbul Fashion Week for your last fall-winter collection, you explored themes of embrace, protest and emotion. What themes can we expect from Emre Erdemoğlu in the coming year?
In his 2020-2021 Fall-Winter collection, Emre Erdemoğlu suggests a world in which it is still possible to embrace each other and generosity, endless patience, lack of prejudice and accepting each other’s mistakes, foolishness and ugliness to embrace each other even tighter, even at the most difficult moments, with his theme of “Beni Bağrına Bas” (Hold Me Close to Your Heart).
Throughout the entire collection we have incorporated figures of people embracing each other stitch by stitch using weaving and printing techniques. In all of the details, I have interpreted figures embracing each other with a graphic language and inserted the three dimension human figures I designed into the collection.
I am preparing a brand new story for the new season and I find this amazingly exciting.
I am processing a new era. I am going to beam everyone into an era that is a bit different. It will be a collection in the air, not on the ground. It will again be a very nostalgic and dramatic story. I won’t give too many details rights now, let it be a surprise.
You are a designer with global acclaim, but roots in Turkey. What influence does the fashion of Turkey have on your designs, particularly that in Istanbul?
Istanbul is a very cosmopolitan city. It is an enchanting city that holds cultures from all over the world within it. Its history, works, traditions and customs have always pulled me into it. It is impossible not to be inspired by its texture and its emotions. We are in a multifaceted country. Each city teaches you something different…I am always travelling and I learn about different stories each time. We have an amazing history to get inspiration from.
How have you found Turkish fashion to differ from that in other countries? What makes it special?
I find Turkish fashion to be worldly and never boring or old. Completely the opposite “Worldly”. We succeed in reflecting traditional textures in our present day. We have many stories to be inspired by. We always have a story to tell.
What have been the challenges of being a designer during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Apparently there is something called turning a disadvantage into an advantage! Instead of surrendering to these difficult times, I am continuing to produce. It has been a long time since I have been by myself. Now I am at a time when I can think, produce and improve every task I have put on hold. Now is the time for crisis management. It is not a time to sit and be useless. It is a time to produce more, bond more and multiply.
The pandemic period was a good time for me to make new decisions about my brand. I continued to work with full concentration. We had the opportunity to handle many things that needed to be updated. We made new decisions as a team. We entered a period of renewal regarding our sales locations, our online store and our showroom. I have been participating in fashion weeks, fairs and showrooms in Italy and Berlin, in addition to Istanbul for many years. We continue to be in touch. We will again have projects in different countries in the new season. We especially have good projects concerning the sales locations of the brand.
How do your experiences over the past year, COVID-related or otherwise, display themselves in your clothes?
The time we all spent at home and the Home-Office working systems have triggered the wish to be more comfortable and at ease for all of us. I am using more lycra fabrics and oversized patterns and forms while preparing my collection. The impact of the pandemic and the seasonal transitions have guided me to make my collection more timeless. I always put less heavy fabrics in when preparing my winter collection and make a more timeless pantone when preparing my color pantone. I especially place importance on the fabric I use being recyclable. I have been watching closely with great sadness the confusion caused by many brands as they seem to compete with each to see “How can I produce with the poorest quality?” within this fast fashion trend of the rapidly developing and changing world.
Everyone should do their part as an individual in this sense. Having sustainable fabric throughout the entire collection was very important for me. I try to protect nature and the future through my own methods by using environmentally friendly fabrics like Tencel, organic cotton and recycled polyester. The sustainable polyester threads of the fabrics I use are produced from plastic bottles.
By using recycled polyester thread we play a role in the ever growing ocean pollution problem of our customers and consumers.
First class pes thread, which is made from bottles that are a high risk for going into the ocean, is used in my fabric production. “It is important for us to protect our air, soil and natural resources by using thread recycled from billions of plastic bottles.
What is the importance of creativity in times of distress to you? How has the Istanbul arts scene responded to the pandemic?
I have always been a person who likes to think positively when faced with circumstances. This is how I was created. I have always taken something positive from adversities I have encountered. The result is always positive, because I believe in energy. I have always tried to maintain my mental health and productivity during this time. I concentrated on my collections and my drawings. I am a man who grows and is happy as long as I produce, so this time was beneficial to me actually. I had not been by myself for a long time. I found the time to organize a lot of tasks I had put off.
Just like the rest of the world, everything developed under restrictions and control during this time in Turkey. We did our fashion shows digitally. We did fittings with our customers at our fashion houses according to the rules. Our appointment systems were developed with great control. Art galleries, museums, concerts and other artistic events are very restricted right now. I hope that the good days to come will help us forget the hardships and losses we have experienced. I hope the whole word will be able to produce freely like we did before.