After a widely acclaimed collection presented at London’s Fashion Week in February the young Turkish designer Hakaan Yilidrim won this year's competitive €220,000 ANDAM Award. Yet based in London, he was now showing his line Hakaan for the first time at the Paris Fashion Week end of September.
What made you become a fashion designer?
H.Y : My dream to become a fashion designer started when I touched fabric, started shaping it with my hands into clothes,then turning them to more with a needle.....although they didn't look like much of anything on a hanger. As I realized this was fun and enjoyed doing it,I started sketching. My sister Ayse, who loved sewing for pleasure let me work with her which led me to improve my capabilities. As I grew older, I realized that I didn't want to do anything other than this, and so I started my education in Istanbul to become a fashion designer.
What's your relationship with your hometown Istanbul?
H.Y : Istanbul is very important to me. All my past and my life as a whole, my friends, my family and my memories are what make me who I am.My connection with Istanbul is very strong. I believe the relationship with cities is determined by the things which belong to you and that makes you form powerful ties. The powerful ties I have with Istanbul will never break.
Last feburary you showed in London a sexy, sharpely shaped silhouette with strong shoulders, in paris your very black & white collection was minimal and very fitted. How would you describe your work?
H.Y : I like finding and applying new techniques,forming surfaces on my clothes/designs.I try building minimal clothes with small details because I want them to be part of life. And I enjoy making architectural and graphic forms.It is of course, very important that people feel comfortable and great wearing my clothes
What was the turning point of your career?
H.Y : The turning point was when the fashion photographer Mert (Alas) encouraged me by telling me I should do something for the world and took artistic direction of my collection. This was followed by the attention and admiration my collection received at London Fashion Week this year. That was when I met the fashion industry and felt that they opened their arms to me with sincerity.
What is your major source of inspiration when working?
H.Y : My social life and my friends are my inspirations when working.I am a quiet and good observer.A photograph I see,a building I look at and many other objects can effect me if I feel something visually or emotionally.
Which work of art or artist inspires you most? And why?
H.Y : The piece of art or artist that inspires me changes according to my mood. Sometimes a line or facial expression on a Egon Schiele work,or Franck Gehry's construction of a building. The way he turns impossible looking sketches into real limitless structures. His courage in doing it all,that encourages me.
You just won the french ANDAM award. If you could choose any place in the world to show your work, where would it be?
H.Y : I want to show my collection in Paris and continue my business here. For me, Paris is the best fashion city in the world!
Do you feel like you are a part of a new generation of designers?
H.Y : Sometimes yes,sometimes no.I feel more experienced and knowledgeable than the new generation.I have more knowhow in making technical and better quality products.However,I stand along the same line with the new generation since I showed my collection for the first time in one of the most importants fashion capitals.Therefore,people have only recently started seeing my style,my work,my talent and my potential.
What pushes you forward?
H.Y : I have a lot more than I want to do with my work.I am doing the thing that I want most to do in this world and lifetime.Therefore,I have work that fulfills my life and I am working hard to do better than my last work,always thinking about what more to do.There is always something better and striving for that pushes me forward.
What are your upcoming projects and where would you like to be in 10 years time?
H.Y : I want to do great shows and great collections. And,I want to be the collections director in a fashion house besides Hakaan and also open new shops. If all goes well and as planned, Hakaan might have a few sub-lines,a couture line and shops in major cities around the world.I will be living in Paris!