What to wear on vacation: Turkish designer Gül Hürgel's pretty linen dresses
To those of us foreign to the region, the Mediterranean can seem paradisiacal; natives like Turkish fashion designer Gül Hürgel, meanwhile, are... usually inclined to agree with our imaginations (the lucky bums!). For Hürgel, sunny skies, crystal blue waters and ocean breeze are not just markers of Turkey’s coasts — they also fuel her eponymous label, which has become an insider favourite for seaside-ready, polished linen dresses covered with embroidery and prints. As our own vacation days draw closer, we spoke to Hürgel about making the leap from surgical dressings to dresses, keeping her work out of her sister's hands, and what makes a Gül Hürgel dress truly special.
What are your earliest fashion memories?
Gül Hürgel (GH): Always dressing in the same outfits as my twin sister, until the age of ten. Nowadays we dress similarly, not identically, and once in a while, I'll even let her wear one of my dresses. *Winks*.
What was your profession experience like prior to starting your own label?
GH: I studied fashion design at both Paris and New York campuses of Parsons School of Design. I then worked for my family business, which happens to be one of the leading technical/medical textile manufacturers in Turkey; while there, I designed tailor-made products for patients of all sorts.
When did you start your label, and why?
GH: I started my label in 2016. I've always loved wearing linen, but aesthetically, the options were always limited. So I decided to make what I wanted to wear!
What inspires you, and what makes your embroidered linen pieces different from others?
GH: I am always inspired by the Mediterranean. It's basically the gate of heaven, if you ask me! Our designs are casual and relaxed, but a little more fitted to the body than usual.
Who do you design for, and what are the key components of your design ethos?
GH: I design for anybody who wants to feel happy. My design process is all about research, and really zooming in on the finer details of each piece.
What's the fashion scene in Turkey like?
GH: As good as those in Paris and London, at least when it comes to exquisite handwork.
That having been said, how labour-intensive are your designs?
GH: Some of our embroideries are machine-made, but aside from those, our other detailing is hand-crafted.
Do you think your clothes are emblematic of Turkish design?
GH: Not really, I'd like to think that they reflect the individual wearing them more than the country in which they were made.
What's your next move?
GH: I want to concentrate more on jewellery and shoes, but no matter what I'm making, I'll always design with joy and excitement!
Gül Hürgel is available online at gulhurgel.com, Matches Fashion, Mytheresa, and Moda Operandi.
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