Zeynep Tosun is one of the brands prepared with the most local approach you can see in the Turkish fashion industry. It reflects the cosmopolitan culture of Anatolia from design to production, from sources of inspiration to the people with whom it travels and works. Based on being local as a rising cost, we talked about the trends of 2022 with several different titles.
Zeynep Tosun has been on our radar since she founded her brand in 2008 and launched her first collection in 2009! He was only 28 years old at that time, today he has changed, the rules of the world have been rewritten. Along with him, his brand has evolved. In fact, social and economic dynamics are changing rapidly in our country and in the world. “I remember very clearly, my mother and father as support; ‘Are you waiting for the crisis to pass? They said, ‘One ends and a new one begins’, so I established my brand with such a heart.” During this period, she caught the changing trends determined by what the day brought, and with her fighting spirit, she always managed to adapt the Zeynep Tosun brand to the spirit of the time. In the meantime, she organized couture fashion shows and presented her collections at London Fashion Week. By designing capsule collections for fast clothing brands, he made his name known to large masses. With Koray Birand, he shot fashion cinemas in different geographies from Kars to Ephesus. “In the economic crisis, I stop designing couture and design sweatshirts; It’s been a pandemic, our ready-to-wear collections have become more popular.” He has a strong and warrior spirit, just like the women he created in his collection.
The motifs symbolizing rebirth, strong female symbols, and the technique used in a classical and contemporary medium distinguish the Zeynep Tosun brand. Couture adds hand embroideries of ancient Anatolian techniques on clothes. These are the themes that have determined Zeynep Tosun’s DNA over the past 15 years. On the other hand, the cultural richness of the lands we live in, being a part of a cyclical fashion, being as natural as possible while designing and making continuous collaborations as a designer in order to be fed with new horizons are among the values that define it. In short, the main issues that the brand focuses on are actually the points in the middle of the 2022 predictions of many trend master lists. Regardless of the discipline, there were many collaborations from decoration to accessory brands; For example, the “Timeless” collection he created with Perwoll, the Organics: By Red Bull collaboration where they met on the basis of being organic, its production being completely vegan…
You have been a designer who always turns to Anatolia, from the fashion movies you have shot before to the sources of inspiration, even to the people you work with during the production phase. Where does the importance you give to historical values and these lands come from?
Sometimes I can’t believe we live in a country like this. We live in a geography where you can find everything you are looking for. Mediterranean culture is different, Black Sea, Eastern Anatolia when you go to the top… We are such a cosmopolitan culture that each one feeds me with a different value. My sources of inspiration have always been the lands I came from. I think we live in a very valuable geography. And I’m a bit of a curious person too. I travel with the thought of research and learning. There are handcrafted fabrics and scarves that I collect from various regions of Anatolia, different in my home, different in my workshop. It’s not limited to these either, I just pack everything I can carry wherever I go and come back like that. Moreover, I started this long before I founded the Zeynep Tosun brand. My savings are not limited to Anatolia, but since I live in these lands, I design every detail and nuance by blending it with Anatolian culture. Since I designed and produced here, the products are produced with the help of women in Anatolia. We are a very local brand.
Tosun has prepared a sustainable special collection consisting of a total of 490 pieces. He produced jean jackets, hats, amulets and bags decorated with embroidery and patchwork using techniques unique to Anatolia.
I think you are a designer who can best reflect and use the values we have. Can you talk about the research processes?
At home, in my workshop, there are many vintage cheesecloths and scarves related to Anatolia. There are also new products that we prepare and produce inspired by them. Actually, I can summarize my working process as follows; life is a soup for me and in every collection I filter the ingredients of whatever soup I want to work on. In all these works we do, I bring out the opposites. To present the motifs of Anatolia with a completely different material or to combine classical motifs with an innovative approach. I believe a lot of things are the same at the micro and macro level. That’s why I can use a 1 millimeter motif on a scarf in macro dimensions.
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As a designer, you collaborate with different brands. Why do you care about working with different brands?
A different brand is a new process, a new experience for me. For one thing, I always accept these collaborations with self-confidence as I am a designer and with the thought that I can design anything with the authority given to me by the profession. That’s why I love to create a house woven product, shoe or accessory. And I think I like to design products that are not normally in Zeynep Tosun’s collections. Thanks to these collaborations, unique designs can be created. Because there is always only one line on which a brand travels, but the juxtaposition of two of them means the emergence of different possibilities and innovations. These partnerships are also emotionally valuable as they are always short-lived and have less production. I think more people need to come together and produce together, not only in the weaving industry, but also in different disciplines.
Digitized presentations, metaverse, do these issues excite you?
First time sharing here with ELLE: Yes, I really want to collect in Metaverse, but I have other plans and I’m trying to frame them. I believe that the future is Metaverse and I started working knowing that I have responsibilities as a designer. I’m sure everyone will be a part of it and want to be. Today, if people were given the chance to live their lives in the Metaverse from now on, everyone would agree, because in real life everyone is so unhappy. The Metaverse is a universe of infinite possibilities and why should they be stuck in their dwellings when they could live there!
If a piece from any of your collections were to be transferred to the digital world as NFT, what would it be?
I’ll keep that to myself for now, because that’s something we’re working on too.
You have prepared a collection titled “Out of Time”. Can you talk about it?
Together with Perwoll, we prepared a collection titled “Never Out of Fashion”. And all of its income will be donated to the Hope Foundation for Children with Cancer (KAÇUV). Unused woven products, clothes piggy banks located in four different points of Istanbul, and modasiçmez. It has been collected since July through its net address. These donated clothes were turned into a collection by being designed with local, forward and recycling techniques under the leadership of Zeynep Tosun and veteran women in Anatolia. We used techniques unique to Anatolia, because as you know, nothing is thrown away in the villages! We created jean jackets, hats, amulets and bags decorated with embroidery and patchworks from the collected clothes. A sustainable private collection consisting of a total of 490 pieces emerged. All of these processes have been brought to life by a jean manufacturer called Bego Jeans, which uses organic hemp and produces the lowest water use (less than the amount of water used to produce a t-shirt).
The motifs symbolizing rebirth, strong female symbols, and the technique used in a classical and contemporary center are among the features that distinguish Zeynep Tosun brand. As a designer, it is important for him to reflect the culture of the country he lives in.
Speaking of sustainable methods, you were a part of Organics by Red Bull: Talent District… How do you incorporate the word organic into your collections?
As a local brand, we continue our productions, we deal with the carbon footprint. We talk a lot about being sustainable, from recycling the surplus materials we use, from packaging to our production systems. Naturally, there are points that we can and cannot apply. In a structure that is natural and does not change its chemistry when it occurs with another material. For example, we came to a center with Red Bull, as we always take care to produce organically. Just as various conditions must be met in order for you to be able to produce organically in the fields, we pay attention to this when designing. Our carbon footprint is very low. The work we do is really about these lands. 90 percent of the materials I use in the collections are natural. Although I can’t be myself, Zeynep Tosun is a vegan brand, so I use vegan ingredients in new products. Next is the use of plant-based skins. We have been producing completely vegan products for three years.
Article: Aykun Tasdoner
Taken from ELLE Turkey February 2022 issue.