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Dilara Findikoglu on her time-travelling, Trump-fighting comic character

Exclusive: the London-based designer’s first issue – ‘Dilara: Warrior Sorceress’ – launches today with Ditto

For fashion designers, collections are their way of presenting their thoughts and ideas to the world. What do you do, though, if those ideas can’t all be communicated via clothing? If you’re London-based designer Dilara Findikoglu, the answer is simple: create your own comic book.

Although she had been keen to showcase her more political views for a number of seasons, Findikoglu didn’t think her collections were the best way to do that. After mentioning to Ditto’s Ben Freeman that she wanted to be drawn as a comic character or superhero, Dilara: Warrior Sorceress was born. “I don’t want people to think ‘You’re just a fashion brand, just go and make clothes’,” Findikoglu told us on spotlighting current issues. “I feel like the future of fashion will be marrying the two together – it’s so important.”

Based on the designer herself – with a few extra time-travelling powers thrown in – the comic was the result of work by her and Freeman along with fantasy author Amy Tipper-Hale and illustrator Benjamin Filby. “We spent several sessions together storyboarding, developing the characters and working on Dilara’s look,” Freeman told us. “We looked at some old comics and thought about how we could give her a unique persona.”

Without giving too much away, the journey of the Warrior Sorceress’s travels through time and space, with one goal: to take down Donald Trump. Not so different to everyone else then. 

Ahead of the comic’s launch today, we talk to Findikoglu on what you can expect from the first issue.

How did the idea to make a comic come about?

Dilara Findikoglu: I’ve been thinking about it for more than a year now and then when we had time off after the AW17 show we started working on it. I’m so happy we did because it’s like basically me saving the world through what I want to do. There are so many parts to it though, it’s like doing another show. Well, it’s easier than that obviously but still, it’s something that I don’t really know about so I’m learning!

Have you always been a fan of comics?

Dilara Findikoglu: I’m not a big fan of comic books because, for me, they’re so male-centred with superheroes saving the girls. I much prefer to read stuff that is more female-focussed. There are a few comic books like that like Vampirella and Red Sonja and they’re really, really good. Or movies like Kill Bill – that kind of thing really describes me as well.

Why did you want to create a comic?

Dilara Findikoglu: When I do fashion I feel like I’m missing a big part from it. So with the comic book, I can make people think of things in a fun way and understand me and my world better. They can still look at the clothes and talk about what I’m trying to say in it, but because it’s a comic book you have to read it to know about it. So I feel like I can show that side of me that I can’t show through my clothes.

“When I do fashion I feel like I’m missing a big part in it. So with the comic book, I can make people think of things in a fun way and understand me and my world better” – Dilara Findikoglu

How did you come up with the story?

Dilara Findikoglu: I always wanted to time travel! In my collections, I use a lot of historical references and every time I look at a historical look I wish I could just see the real dress when it was being made. So, I really want to go back in time but because I can’t I wanted to practice it in my comic books.

Where did you take inspiration for the looks in the comic?

Dilara Findikoglu: I was looking at some of the clothes that I’ve made before but I didn’t really think about my collections. I tried to see it as a different thing, more of my political side or my side that thinks about human rights and what I can do to make it a more fair world. Because it was me I didn’t really put myself in the stuff I design, I just wanted to make myself look nice and superheroic. The looks I’m wearing in it are not super fashionable, they’re more medieval costumes or I’m wearing a Cleopatra or belly dancing costume. There’s not much of my fashion side in the comic book, which I like. I wanted to be a hero and make the world a better place. 

Do you have a favourite moment?

Dilara Findikoglu: When I meet Ataturk! Ataturk is the founder of the Turkish Republic. There is a really big love in Turkey for him and because of the current state of the government people miss him a lot. In my series, I go back and call him to make him kill Trump as well so I guess that was my favourite part.

Will this be part of an ongoing series?

Dilara Findikoglu: I really want to continue doing this because in the first issue I just talked about something that everyone knows really closely like Trump and saving the world from him. But in the future, I definitely want to talk about funny stuff. I want to get rid of contouring in the next feature – and maybe Kim Kardashian! 



Dilara: Warrior Sorceress launches today at DM’s Boot Room, Camden from 7-9pm, and is also available online