The punk-fuelled design prodigy with a guerrilla state of mind, the Turkish designer is lighting up Soho strip clubs with her work
Anything goes in the weird and wonderful world of Turkish-born designer Dilara Findikoglu. At her London Fashion Week debut in September 2016, Findikoglu spirited us away to the darkened basement of a Soho strip club, where a model could be seen donning checkerboard pants with an intricately beaded female reproductive system on the crotch. At the follow-up for AW17, fantastical flares with red flames vied for attention with a Marilyn Manson t-shirt refigured to feature conical breasts.
Despite the fast-rising designer’s recent success (she’s created a custom suit for Lady Gaga and official merch for Manson) Findikoglu’s road into fashion wasn’t exactly straightforward. First, she had to convince her traditional parents to allow her, their rebellious daughter, to leave Turkey to attend London’s Central Saint Martins. Then, as she prepared to graduate, her collection wasn’t picked for the university’s final fashion show. So, naturally, she staged a guerrilla presentation on the pavement instead.
With vintage-inspired tailoring and the colours red and pink central to her work, Findikoglu’s clothes incorporate an obsession with punk and heavy metal with fashion history and feminist politics, mixing subcultural references from her teenage years with ideas about how women have been treated in different societies. In February, she was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize, officially making her one of the most exciting emerging designers working today.
Emma Hope Allwood