Hailing from Turkey, Umit has been picking up design awards on our shores ever since graduating from Grafton College in 2011. With a background in textiles and a history of working in the Istanbul fashion scene, he accomplished his dream of setting up his own label and distributing his products in Dublin with impressive speed. His collection last year wowed us with its opulence and drama, and we couldn’t wait to sit down and have a quick chat with him…
Tell us about your passion for design? Design is part of who I am. I have always had a vivid imagination. In my childhood I loved drawing, painting and sketching my ideas. After school, I studied textile engineering in Istanbul. This gave me a deep understanding of the properties of fabrics and the possibilities of what I could create with them. It was an essential part of my training as a fashion designer.I think this comes across in my designs, especially in the Haute Couture collections. Haute Couture gives me the chance to push the boundaries. Dramatic silhouettes, unusual fabrics and embellishments are used in innovative ways.I really feel that I communicate my ideas best through my Couture designs, without the commercial constraints of ready to wear.
Where did you start? It’s hard to say when it started – I think life has always been guiding me here. It always felt very natural for me to create things. Throughout my childhood and school years I always had a pencil or a paintbrush in my hand. My career as a fashion designer really started after I graduated from the Grafton Academy in 2011. This was the year I set up my own brand.
What has been your best moment so far? In my career, the best moment was my first solo fashion show. I had just moved to my new showroom and studio at 27 Merrion Square. We had an in-house fashion show. This beautiful Georgian building perfectly complemented my designs ( they had also inspired some). It is spacious, bright and has been beautifully restored. Some other special moments have been simple – people calling in to the showroom and just appreciating the space and my designs. I love that!
Who/What are your influences? My inspiration is life – it can be anything – people, a walk, a song, fabrics, a cup, the past, the future, the unknown, memories, the countryside in Wicklow where I live….. I could go on….
Which designers, both established and new, do you think are the most exciting at the moment? I try not to look at what other designers are doing. I don’t want to be influenced by other ideas. I prefer to spend time channelling my own!
The fabrics you use are amazing – where do you source them? The fabrics are the most important part of my creation. Many times it is the fabric that has been the inspiration for the design! Perhaps this is because I was trained in fabrics first. To answer your question – I search everywhere for my fabrics, all over the world. Good places to find new fabrics are showcases like ‘Vision Premiere’ in Paris.
What is your next collection looking like? For spring summer 2014 I have two collections – Ready to wear and Haute Couture. They are both in keeping with my brand- very elegant and romantic. The colours are soft, almost candy- very feminine. The inspiration for this multi-cultural. You will see some Oriental inspirations and some Classical Greek. It’s quite touching.
Umit Kutluk will be featured at this year’s Kerry Fashion Week. Get your hands on these highly coveted tickets right here.