Turkish Fashion Designer Bora Aksu Talks Culture, Creativity and Responding to the Earthquake
Fashion doesn’t exist in a vacuum. As Coco Chanel once said, it’s “in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what’s happening.” So how, as a designer, you do respond to what’s going on in the world when that's a tragedy close to home or heart?
On February 6, 2023 a magnitude 7.8 earth quake hit south-eastern Türkiye, and northern Syria. It was catastrophic - causing unfathomable damage and loss of life. Official figures put the death toll beyond 50,000 people. And to make matters worse, it was bitterly cold winter. Against such a backdrop, fashion’s concerns may seem trifling, but the region is a textiles centre, while and the many garment factories on the other side of Turkey will also feel the effects, with huge numbers of people displaced and vulnerable. Plus through all this, fashion month went on.
What do you do as a creative from an affected country, when you’re reeling from this but not there on the ground? Or not physically impacted? How do you just carry on as normal? Should you even try? If not, then what? On a practical level, do you cancel your fashion show? Realistically, what good would that do?
Do you try to compartmentalise, or block it out, or use your platform to speak out and raise money? Probably all of the above, at the same time! There’s obviously no correct answer, but these are the questions. And also, the context for this week’s interview with London-based Turkish designer Bora Aksu, who shares candidly about what it means to be a creative trying to navigate all this.
But while this is how the conversation begins - it's not how it ends. At it's heart, this is a warm, hopeful and inspiring interview about fashion, family, craft, heritage, upcycling and the practical work of trying to choose the most sustainable textiles as a fashion designer – Bora has been has doing it for years, long before sustainability became the next big thing.
If you’d like to make a donation to the ongoing relief and humanitarian work in Türkiye and Syria, please see the shownotes at www.thewardrobecrisis.com
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