Melis AlphanHürriyet Daily News
Rıfat Özbek (L) and Erdal Karaman design luxurious cushions using materials collected from travels aroun the world.
Rıfat Özbek is one of the few Turkish fashion designers who have come to be known in the international fashion scene.
Born in Istanbul in 1953, Özbek left Turkey for the United Kingdom in 1970 to get an education in architecture.
After connecting with some youth involved in fashion in London Özbek developed an interest in the field and enrolled in Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, one of the most prominent design schools in the world. Following his graduation Özbek, who had graduated with honors, founded his own brand in 1984.
For many years Özbek’s shows and collections received heaps of praise pushing him to the top of the fashion industry.
In 1988, Özbek was awarded “Fashion Designer of the Year” by the British Fashion Council. He became of the ten fashion designers who have contributed to British fashion. In short, he did everything he could in the name of fashion.
For Özbek, it was then time to take a pause, lean back and relax.
Throughout the 90s Özbek represented Turkey in a fantastic way, but while he was at the peak of his professional career the designer chose to bid farewell to the fashion world.
“I’m leaving at the best time. It is best to leave something you do while at the top,” he said when he announced his exit.
Many people say such things, but when it comes to actually applying it to one’s own life, not many people have the guts. Collection of cushions named ‘Yastık’
Özbek’s exit from the world of fashion was only the end of one chapter in the designer’s life. Özbek decided to open a new chapter and apply his creativity in a different, but not so distant career field.
In 2005 he collaborated with Erdal Karaman to create a collection of cushions.
It didn’t take long until Özbek had gained equal acclaim for the cushions he designed.
He named his new brand Yastık, the Turkish name for cushion.
“If jewelry is the indispensible accessory for a dress, then the couch’s indispensible accessory is the cushion,” said Özbek, “A cushion is a luxury, a reminder of a journey, a memory of a dream.”
The inspiration behind Yastık is the desire to spoil consumers, and couches for that matter, with choices for this ultimate home decor accessory.
The collection is designed with exotic and beautiful fabrics which Özbek adds his very own touch to, combining the eclectic and sumptuous, mixing motifs and shapes from different cultures. The collections are explosions of colors and unique and versatile designs.
When designing cushions, Özbek first places the materials he has collected from his travels around the world in front of him. Among them are Anatolian and Brazilian flower pattern prints, striped English fabrics, Ottoman silks and African prints. Each one is sewn with great care and pleasure. And each is unique when they are finished.
Each design is produced as a limited edition and each season brings a new collection of cushions. Yastık cushions move from traditional to contemporary interiors with ease.
Each Yastık store has its own bespoke collection reflecting the mood of its location.
The first shop was set up in 2005 in Bodrum. Currently there is a shop in Istanbul and one in Izmir and several concessions throughout Turkey.
In recent months Özbek also opened a cushion store in London.
The key to the cushions made by Özbek, is that they are produced with great pleasure and care. k HDN