Melis AlphanHürriyet Daily News
Mehtap Elaidi is the new president of the Fashion Designers Association of Turkey. She says there are still question marks about Turkish designers’ originality
Fashion designer Mehtap Elaidi (L) says says her priority is to put the perception of Turkish fashion designers where it belongs.
Ten years ago, we could only talk about fashion in Turkey in the context of textiles. Turkey has long been a textiles country, but far from being called a land of fashion.
Maybe we still cannot talk about a fashion industry in Turkey, or at least not a huge one. But still, there has been a big move forward.
In 2006, with the collaboration of Turkish fashion designers Bahar Korçan, Ümit Ünal, Hatice Gökçe, Hakan Yıldırım, Arzu Kaprol, Özlem Süer and İdil Tarzi, the Fashion Designers Association was founded.
The association started up with seven members and now has 123 members. A short while ago, Korçan, who was serving as the president of the association, passed the task on to fashion designer Mehtap Elaidi.
Elaidi has been working for the association for four years. In the six years since the association was founded has been spent trying to make everything from scratch.
The mission was to create a Turkish fashion design ecole and afterward carry it to a higher place.
In this way, two important platforms were created: Istanbul Fashion Week and Galatamoda.
Galatamoda is an organization that enables designers to meet their consumers. It teaches new designers mass production and is a fantastic opportunity for them to examine themselves. What price to put on a product, who is it that buys the product... Designers find the answers to these questions at Galatamoda.
And many designers budget according to their sales there. Today, there are many shop owners that go to Galatamoda from cities like Denizli, Alanya, Antalya, Ankara, İzmir, Bursa and Balıkesir to make contact with designers and order products.
Elaidi said Galatamoda, which has been set up at different points in the city - such as Galata Tower and Akaretler - should have a fixed place and dates from now on. She also thinks the event should be carried to different platforms at the same time. The association plans to set up a website where the remaining products can be sold after the event.
Elaidi said they were in a hurry to raise Istanbul Fashion Week and Galatamoda to a higher level, but that this was not so easy. They are moving with limited resources, and the support of the local authorities is a must. In these six years, with the help of the association’s work, a new perception has been created. The perception that “there are Turkish fashion designers, they exhibit their work at visible points now, and their products have design quality and affordable prices.”
Elaidi said her priority was to put the perception of Turkish fashion designers where it belonged: “The originality of Turkish fashion designers is unknown to many people. There are still question marks. We have to explain what we do more clearly.”
The association aims to raise the commercial dimension of the designer. Turkish fashion designers should be able to sell their products on a regular basis, and opening a shop should not be the only way.
Elaidi said: “There are four or five prominent department stores in Turkey, but you cannot find a single Turkish designer’s product there. It’s a pity. If you cannot sell your product in your own country, how will you sell it to the guy abroad? This has to change.”