Fashion Week Istanbul showcased an array of exciting creative talent. GAY TIMES sat down with designer, Hatice Gokce to discuss the inspiration behind their latest AW21 collection, and how fashion, more than ever, has a responsibility to be the voice of change.

What was the inspiration behind your AW21 collection?

I am in love with texture. I always pay attention to create my own. The real fashion starts from creating the texture. Then there is cultural heritage and respect to our past that influences me and gives me inspiration. To concepts of rebirth and reborn are very strong concepts and they drive my creativity a lot.

 What does your creative process look like? What are your reference points, muses and sources of inspiration?

It is like finding the right material where I know where they are placed on a very messy work table. It is only me who can find them. My reference points are mostly historical subjects, texture design and feelings. I do not have muses but I like some creative people, actors, singers who have a free soul and act as they are. This straightforward attitude and flexible mind effects my designs.

How would you describe the Istanbul fashion scene?

It is very dynamic, young but also powerful.

With the current restrictions on queer expression and protest in Istanbul, do you think it’s important for the new wave of designers to speak up and champion social causes?

 Yes, it’s important, of course. In these times when fashion begins to be redefined, the answers or questions that the new wave designers will give to the restrictions in all areas of our social life are of great importance. It is important to raise your voice and to question it with its designs or topics, to attract attention, to voice it out loud, considering the size of the audience to be reached. This is already happening somehow. I can only say that the mass it affects may be small yet.

In what ways does the fashion and arts scene in Istanbul offer a safe space for people to express themselves and feel free?

A strong and humorous language has been created for expressing oneself on social media in daily life. The fashion and art scene also plays its part in creating this powerful way of expression and reaching out to everyone. I think more bold steps need to be taken for more effective solutions. These two environments are also a great freedom area in Istanbul.