Fire Five is our latest journal feature in which we interview the brilliant minds behind our favourite brands & retailers – a mix of creatives, designers, & buyers. We’re very excited to begin this journey and take you along with us as we dive deeper into the energy behind our favourite creatives.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Ilkin Kurt, Tuchuzy buyer, stylist, and fashion consultant. Full of wisdom, soul, and insight – Ilkin is a woman of multiple talents with an infectious zest for life and encyclopedic knowledge of art, fashion, music, and politics. Knowing from a young age she was meant to work in fashion, Ilkin is the epitome of style with her inimitable taste and eye for quality. With her Turkish background, Ilkin brings a certain je ne sais quoi to the world of fashion buying and styling. Our ultimate girl crush, read along as Ilkin gives us an inside look into her style philosophy, approach to buying, views on sustainability, and more.
1) What influences your personal style? Who are your muses & what gives you inspiration?
Mostly books, films, music, and my friends influence my style. However, these days the global pandemic energy influences everything I do – the way I dress and think. I’m very grateful that most of my wardrobe is vintage. I’ve been a big collector of a few brands and eras.
I really don’t have a muse but there are many women I respect and admire such as Mica Ertegun, Lee Radziwill, Turkan Soray, Miuccia Prada, the Rodarte sisters, Elsa Peretti, Joan Didion, and Sofia Cappola. The list goes on…
More than their incredible style, all of these women have something in common. They have a great mindset which aligns with their culture. Their forte is their knowledge and vision. It is powerful, sexy, and inspirational.
I get inspired by other people’s ideas…their enthusiasm but not by their dreams. I think there is a fine line there. Also, a good sunny day with great music puts me in the mood to create, think, and listen.
2) Being from Turkey, how does that affect your style & the way you live your life?
It affects me in many ways. I try to be a minimalist at every step of my life but coming from a country with a rich culture and history clashes with that. In terms of decorating my house or my personal style, I have started to struggle between ‘less is more’ and ‘more is more.’ I grew up in a house with big velvet curtains, bold colour cushions, incredible handmade curtains & bed throws, wood carved ceilings, and paintings hanging everywhere with lots of books. So, I really cannot just cannot deny all of that..
On the other hand, I come from a family full of artisans and experienced a neighborhood culture where everyone knew each other and the motto was, ‘sharing is caring.’ Growing up like that makes me want to live a life of simplicity. And I’m truly grateful for that.
3) How do you see the fashion industry moving forward? What is your hope for the fashion industry?
Everyone talks about ‘revenge buying’, and the term itself is quite irritating to me. The Asian market has already accepted this term and consuming is a way of living over there. The initial shoppers are millennials and this is a concern to me. E-commerce is likely to emerge as a clear winner, as more shoppers are adopting this channel to buy essential and non-essential items. Are we going to go back to two seasons again? Who knows? Most of the brands are investing this time in studying innovative ways to sample digitally. This would be a huge step in responsible commitment.
There are also many brands in the market that do not have sustainable business models. The environmental and social impact is not priced in and as legislation evolves to include this, those brands will struggle. A consumer and behavioural shift there will be even more noticeable. Overall, there is positivity at the end of the tunnel but we just don’t know how long that tunnel is until we see the light again…
I really hope that big fashion houses and chains will take some responsibility and try to produce less, pay fairly, and think about future of their employees. Nobody should be putting their profits or productivity ahead of people’s health and safety. Garment workers are some of the most marginalized, unprotected people on earth. Hopefully, we will be hitting the reset button on sustainable production and resale.
4) Who are your favourite creatives, thought leaders, etc. today?
Ah, so many! My interests are quite broad so I can give you plenty of names. I’m very into visual arts, architecture, industrial design and abstract art.
I really like Sharna Osbourne, Yoshi Sodeka, Lord Newry, Carlota Querro, Moremorenow (Peter Leonard), Mesut Ozturk, Oscar Piccolo, Ezra Petronio-Suzanne Koller duo, the team behind Atelier Vime, & Wong Kar Wai…
5) How do you incorporate sustainability in your approach to buying? In curating edits from our brand stable, does this come to mind and do you have a favourite edit from our arc?
Sustainability has always been in my top three priorities. I try to meet my own standards as much when buying. I look for sustainability, fabric choice, brand philosophy and vision. These are the main elements of my selections. Obviously, it gets harder when you consult and buy for big department stores as there are other priorities there. This is the reason I left Europe and settled down in Australia. Boutique approach, small work environments, and sustainability is how I would like to proceed with my career.
One of the main reasons I love working with Del Rainbow is that you have a clear mindset on ethical fashion and an environmentally conscious approach to everything you do. Not to mention, you have a beautiful brand edit and amazing relationships between brand and agency. I have a founded a relationship with the beautiful Bianca and her energy reflects onto entire business. This is what makes working with Del Rainbow so special…to be able to work with like-minded people.
Harris Tapper has been a personal favourite. Van Der Kooij’s Plant-a-Tree programme is just amazing and her hidden little embroidered flowers on her garments is such a sweet touch.