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Bora Aksu x People Tree

Romantic and decadent designer Bora Aksu talks to Dazed Digital about his latest collection, ethical fashion and working with People Tree and Tori Amos

When Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana purchase pieces from your Central Saint Martins graduation show to inspire their own collections, it’s got to be a pretty flattering compliment. For Bora Aksu, this experience was the beginning of a charmed fashion trajectory. A four-times recipient of the NEWGEN sponsorship award, he founded his own label straight out of art school and never looked back. Bora’s clothing mimics his career’s fairytale aura, cut with rock’n’roll edge and old-time royal glamour. Described by Vogue as gifted with a ‘romantic, 18th Century vision’, he has collaborated with the film, dance and music-scene elite. Bora and Dazed managed to fit all of this into our chat, plus a few words on his covetable designs for ethical label People Tree

Dazed Digital: Who or what was the inspiration for your A/W 2010/11 collection?
Bora Aksu: Based on an imaginary relationship between Marie Antoinette and Edward Scissorhands, it’s about searching for the beauty in the unexpected. The idea was to create demi-couture dresses with a twist using different techniques. The colour palette adds dramatic noir details to a base of subtle pastels; bold coppers and blacks cut and contrast cupcake blues and pinks.

DD: How did your exclusive capsule collection for fair trade, organic label People Tree happen?
Bora Aksu: The collaboration started through a Japanese Vogue project. Three chosen designers (Richard Nicoll, Thakoon and me) designed one piece for People Tree; a limited line was produced. After its success People Tree asked me if I’d like to design a small capsule collection. As the whole purpose is something beyond fashion I didn’t think twice and we’ve been collaborating since then. I’ve learned a lot… It’s a totally different production process, compared to my own line. You need to be much more flexible as a designer. Its not so much about what I want, it’s more like what can we do together.

DD: You’ve worked with contemporary dance company, The Cathy Marston Project, and epic film prop designers Artisan Armour. How was it?
Bora Aksu: I love collaborating with creative people from different fields as it totally brings a new vision to what I do. The Cathy Marston Project was about designing costumes for their dance company. It was challenging as the costumes had to meet their needs (flexibility, strength, movement). The first trials were a total disaster – all the costumes were ripped apart in the rehearsals. And then I got it right and we were all happy.

DD: How did it feel when Tori Amos bought your whole Living Waters collection for her Bee Keeper world tour?
Bora Aksu: She is such an inspiration and I love working with her. She is so down to earth and working with her is always so much fun. At that time, I think she came to the show and decided that my whole collection fitted perfectly for Bee Keeper. Then we had meetings together: her excitement excites everyone around her. She is a very special artist.

DD: Which other fabulous women have you dressed? Who would you love to wear your garments?
Bora Aksu: Keira Knightley, Kirsten Dunst, Liz Jagger, Helena Christensen, Twiggy.

DD: Do you have more multimedia collaborations planned for the future?
Bora Aksu: I do have a film project. It’s very exciting but it’s still in discussion so lets see…

DD: Where can we buy your work?
Bora Aksu: Selfridges in London, Via Bus Stop in Japan, Zenta in Paris, Sbaiz in Milan, D-Mop in Hong Kong…

DD: What has been your best career or fashion moment so far?
Bora Aksu: I enjoy every minute of my career as I’m doing what I love… I’m still very excited about my meeting with the Queen at Buckingham Palace in March. She is very warm and has such an aura around her.
DD: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Bora Aksu: It was from my Course Director from Central Saint Martins, Louise Wilson: ‘there is nothing impossible and if you really want it you can make it.’