Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu’s Latest Collection

Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Bora Aksu | Photographed by Zuzu Valla

In the magnificent backdrop of London Fashion Week SS 24, Vanity Teen had the privilege of entering the creative universe of renowned Fashion Designer Bora Aksu. This exclusive interaction, articulated through the lens of photographer Zuzu Valla, unveils the intricate tapestry of Aksu’s design process, inspiration, and the transcendental journey of his creations

Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Bora Aksu | Photographed by Zuzu Valla

ZV: Could you please walk us through your design process, starting from the initial concept and leading to the finished product?

BA: I am a fashion designer defining beauty in my own unique way. For me, fashion design serves as a visual language that enables me to communicate with the outside world. My process of putting together a collection is through multiple layers of inspiration, rather than just a single source. It’s not so much about where these inspirations come from but more of how you use them or make them your own. I often delve into my childhood memories, it always brings out something very personal in me. Growing up in Turkey, in every household there was someone with amazing handcraft skills; it could be crochet, needlework, knitting, weaving etc. I was surrounded by all these crafts which has left a lasting imprint on me since I was a child. There is an imperfection to my work which creates purity and beauty. For me, fashion is a dream… it’s a visual feast… it’s an alternate world you immerse yourself in. I am an incurable romantic and my goal as a designer is to seek and define beauty in my own terms. Fashion design for me is a visual language that enables me to communicate with the outside world. My team is also so important; I have collaborated with the same creatives over the years, we are a work family. We are like-minded people from different creative backgrounds, all aiming to create something beautiful.

Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Bora Aksu | Photographed by Zuzu Valla

ZV: I’m interested in understanding your sources of inspiration. Could you share what influences your designs, such as fashion trends, historical eras, or cultural elements?

BA: Sometimes the sources of inspiration are more visible in the end design and sometimes it is more hidden. I think my first initial fashion ideas were influenced by the people in my life – my family, particularly my mother – through observing their attitudes and the way they dressed, I almost wanted to capture it. My auntie and my grandma pursued hobbies like creating all these amazing hand crochets and laces, which held elements of cultural heritage. Whether it’s the past or the present, all my ideas stem from what’s going on around me. I do like telling stories through my collections, and I find people to be the most inspiring storytellers. For me, the development of a collection makes the most sense when it is based on a story. Even the fabrics, textures and contrasts within the collection serves as representations of certain elements of storytelling. Every collection has its own unique story and journey. While the collections may link to each other or have hidden narratives that extend beyond the surface, it always feels new and exciting.

Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Bora Aksu | Photographed by Zuzu Valla

ZV: In the fashion industry, collaboration is crucial. Could you provide an example of a successful collaboration you’ve been a part of and elaborate on your contributions to its success?

BA: I think collaborations hold great value when it comes to working with highly creative individuals from completely different fields. People have different perceptions when it comes to creative fields, it creates impressive results. Working with individuals from various creative backgrounds is particularly inspiring as they approach the work with a fresh mindset. Like any creative field, finding the right balance of practical and technical experience is essential, which is another reason why I appreciate collaborations. My most recent collaboration was aimed at raising awareness and funds for the earthquake victims in Turkey. I worked with fine art photographer, Julia Fullerton-Batten, to embark on a mission to shine a light on the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. I am very proud of this project. In the present times, it is evident that we all need to be more kind, considerate and be there for one another.

ZV: Designing clothes often involves creative challenges. Can you recall a time when you faced such challenges? How did you manage to overcome them, and what valuable lessons did you learn from the experience?

BA: The pandemic had a profound impact on the entire world, including the fashion industry. As fashion designers, we needed to adapt to new ways of operating. For me, being creative is one of the only tools we had to bring hope. I believe that we are living in a world, and we need to find harmony among one another. Understanding and appreciating other cultures is so important. Fashion serves as a powerful tool for building bridges between different cultures.

Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Bora Aksu | Photographed by Zuzu Valla
Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Bora Aksu | Photographed by Zuzu Valla

ZV: Sustainability is an important aspect of fashion today. How do you incorporate eco-friendly practices into your design process, and could you provide specific examples of sustainable materials or techniques you’ve used?

BA: Sustainability and any efforts to protect the natural resources are now more critical than ever. A couple of seasons ago, as part of this process, we began searching for rejected old stock fabrics from fabric manufacturers instead of relying on newly produced materials. Using the stock fabrics and going through the back rooms of the manufacturers allowed us to discover hidden treasures that had been tucked away. Some of the crochet pieces were sourced from my mum and grandma’s unfinished knitting projects.

ZV: Paying attention to detail is paramount in clothing design. How do you ensure the precision and quality of your work, particularly when working with intricate patterns or delicate fabrics?

BA: For the last few seasons, my focus has shifted towards seeking out fabrics that aren’t newly produced or polished, instead I asked to see the fabrics in the back rooms. These once rejected fabrics became the main fabrics of the most elaborate garments.

Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Bora Aksu | Photographed by Zuzu Valla

ZV: Remaining updated with the latest fashion trends is crucial. Can you discuss how you stay informed about industry developments and share an instance where you successfully integrated a trend into your designs?

BA: Fashion does not have the same dictating power as it did in past decades; it’s steadily shifting towards individualistic fashion choices rather than the trends dictating fashion. As a designer, I create my own language, sometimes this aligns with certain trends and sometimes it doesn’t. I believe fashion will be more about individuality in the future.

Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Bora Aksu | Photographed by Zuzu Valla
Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Behind the Elegance: A Backstage Pass to Bora Aksu's Latest Collection Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Bora Aksu | Photographed by Zuzu Valla

ZV: We are in love with your latest collection, we would love to hear more about the project. Could you share what sets it apart and how you executed your creative vision for that design?

BA: That’s so very kind, thank you. I describe my collections as demi-couture as the finishing techniques and the quality always strive for couture level. From the very beginning, I always wanted to create something very unique, precious and delicate. I believe that fashion is more than just the clothing; it is a way to dream. It involves creating pieces that can be passed down to future generations.
My aesthetic is based on individuality. I wish to continue doing what I love, allowing those who loves my style to follow it for years to come and to still experience the same essence.

To understand more about the eye behind the lens we also have done questions to Zuzu Valla the magnificent photographer capturing these special moments:

VT: What inspires you to be a photographer?

ZV: It inspires me because it allows me to express myself creatively. I see photography as a means of artistic expression, a way to capture and convey my unique perspective on the world. It is a powerful tool for storytelling. It can capture moments, emotions, and narratives in a single frame. I feel like I can change the world by my vision, to show people that the beauty is everywhere, we just need to look around with wonder eyes. Photography has a deep connection with the world around us, the diversity of cultures, the complexity of human emotions, and the subtleties of everyday life. It is my life, I am thinking of photography and people all day long.

VT:Why do you love shooting Bora’s work?

ZV: I adore Bora’s work because it touches my feminine side. There’s a captivating quality to his creations, hovering between the earthly and the heavenly, difficult to put into words. Whenever I visit the backstage and see his work, it fills me with immense joy. It’s not just about the clothes; it’s the entire package. From the choice of models to the hair, makeup, and accessories, it all comes together like a fairy tale. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be there and capture these moments through my camera. It’s not just inspiring; it recharges my energy. Bora, as a person, is incredibly kind, always greeting me warmly and expressing gratitude, which isn’t common. I’m already looking forward to the next season to see what he’ll create next. Bora has a unique ability to leave a lasting impression through his work, and it’s something I eagerly await.

Credits:
Photographed by Zuzu Valla

Bora Aksu SS 24 Runway BTS

Designer: Bora Aksu
Styled by: Leith Clark
Head of MUA: Janeen Witherspoon using Lisa Eldridge Makeup
Hair: Claire Grech using L’Oreal Pro
Casting: Noah Shelley
Production: Ant Waller
PR: AB Comms
Sunglasses: Linda Farrow
London Fashion Week

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