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Interview: Rabia Turgay

The creative force behind local designer label Marble & Co. talks about the importance of drawing inspiration from nature

How did you become a designer?

I actually got into fashion in a fairly roundabout way. After studying architecture, I began to work as a site inspector. It was during this time that I started to think about the idea of continuous production and what it means to design and create a product in a way that respects both nature and architecture – until one day I found myself on the margins of the fashion industry. My first experience in fashion was working with Gül Ağış, and I learned a great deal from her. I started working on my own label in 2011, and Marble & Co. was founded in 2012. We were partners with Başak Cankeş the first year, and now I run the label on my own.

Do you only design shirts?

Yes. As a garment, the shirt is actually easy to use, but it’s the choice of shirt that can make or break an outfit. This It’s a playground where the wearer can express his or her own style. Every year I put together one collection each for men and women, and then I follow them up with capsule collections. We’re actually launching our new capsule collection this month.

“The choice of shirt can make or break an outfit”

How does your background in architecture influence your designs?

Architecture helps me adopt a different perspective and awareness of form, to respect the treasures of nature. That’s why marble is at the heart of my brand. When I’m working on a silhouette, I imagine that I’m carving marble; when I’m tailoring, I draw inspiration from the calm, clean and smooth feel of marble. My shirts owe their straight lines to the vertical perspective of marble. I started out designing white shirts, but I grew to incorporate color and patterns based on customer demand. I once again turn to nature when deciding on the patterns. My collections mostly feature loose and flared models with sharp, clear lines. I don’t design fitted shirts.

What are some things you pay attention to when choosing a shirt for yourself?

The fit of a shirt is very important. If the shoulders and collar don’t sit right, the shirt won’t look good. One size too big will hang like a sack, and one size too small won’t be comfortable to wear. I also pay attention to the fabric, since it plays a big role in being able to move around comfortably without breaking a sweat. This is precisely where my obsession with nature comes into play at Marble & Co., as we only use natural fabrics like cotton or silk.

You take an artisanal approach to design. How would you position Marble & Co. in today’s world of fast fashion?

Fast fashion is an undeniable reality in this industry. Yet as more and more people turn to fast fashion, there’s also greater interest in artisanal products in recent years. What I’m talking about is a new group of consumers who seek out natural products, who believe that less is more and who want to wear a carefully picked item of clothing for many years. There are two realities and two distinct paths before us, ad I chose the path that serves this new type of consumer. In fact, that’s also why I chose to focus solely on making shirts. Designing just one item brings the result that much closer to perfection.

Who are some people that inspire your designs?

Visually, I’m still influenced by architecture. I’ve always been fascinated by Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, and the inspiration I get from them is definitely reflected in the shirts I design. Music also plays a big role in fashion design. For example, Parov Stelar holds a special place in my heart.

Check out www.marbleandco.com

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