For DESIGN SCENE Magazine‘s Issue 31 (out now in PRINT & DIGITAL) our Editor KATARINA DJORIC sits down with MERVE BAYINDIR a London based milliner everybody is talking about. Her designs have taken the spotlight of Royal Ascot and top fashion editors around the globe. Merve talks about her beginnings, her love for hats and future plans.
How did you first get interested in fashion? Did you always dream of becoming a designer? – I wouldn’t say I was particularly into fashion, maybe more artsy part of fashion like costumes and vintage styles… However having a grandmother who was a tailor, a mother with a strong sense of fashion and art sort of push me into experimenting a lot with my own style and clothes. I use to draw dresses when I was a teenager, as well as make dresses with my grandma and mom, though at no point in my life I thought I had any artistic side to me. Even though I did a lot of things with my hands, and so many artistic hobbies; growing up with my father, a talented interior designer, who was (is) very adamant about how talentless I was (am). So to be honest I never thought I would be designing anything.
Where the love for hats came from? – Oh that was a love of first sight. I have always been very into hats. I think it was part of my love for the way women dressed from 30’s till the end of 60’s. I thought without hats we were only half dressed. Also when I was a kid I use to find them magical as I never understood how they were shaped. I have been kicked out of a hat store in U.S. for trying too many hats, that is how obsessed I was with them! And I had a large collection of hats, even if they were not that fashionable in Turkey.
“I believe as long as it stays on the head you are half way there. The fact that your hat is made very clean is very important, colour correlation followed by the details.”
When you first started in millinery, did you have any specific ambition? – I was designing clothes for my mother’s company, and it was for a runway that I made pieces sort of like hats. Somehow they got more attention than the dresses themselves. Later on my PR in Turkey whom I recently started working with and my mother pushed me into making hats, as there was really no professional or brand name hat designers in Turkey. Even then I was very resistant as I really did not know much about how to make hats. After a horse race I went to in Turkey, press declared me as a hat designer… So I decided it was a sign, and as soon as I did so I had huge dreams, like becoming one of the best millinery designers in the world, getting my brand known by everyone, meeting the queen through my hats. Having my hats on covers of international magazines, royal ascot guide, millinery collective with my hats, making hats for celebrities, videos, movies and so much more. So to be honest as soon as I decided that was something I was going to pursue I had high expectations from myself.
What makes a good hat? – I believe as long as it stays on the head you are half way there. The fact that your hat is made very clean is very important, colour correlation followed by the details. I prefer to make one very detailed well done hat than 10 average hats. However above everything else I believe the one that makes the person wearing happy, is a good hat, at the end of the day in my world hats are supposed to bring you joy.
How has the trend of hat wearing progressed since you came into the scene? – I wouldn’t say it has changed a lot. Considering hat fashion is a bit different than the normal fashion. We have such a small area to play around, yet so many more materials to be creative with, so each year every designer tends to bring a new concept within their style. For me it is more details, more elegance and softer colours with a touch of elegance.
How does your typical day look like? How do you balance your career with your personal life? – I want to say what personal life…. Just kidding of course, I wake up very early and take a walk with my dog and mother, then do a shot exercise. Work basically takes-over till 6-7PM. When the work is done, I am either with friends chilling or at home reading. I try to take one day of and funny enough it is Mondays for me. Usually me and my mom will go to a museum or just find a new spot to discover in London. I try to meet as many new people as possible as I am still somewhat new in London.
“I correlate femininity with elegance. And that does not mean skirts and high heels, we have seen women in suits that are very elegant too. “
Who are the women from the fashion industry you find inspiring? – I love Vivienne Westwood, I find her very inspiring both as a designer and character. Also Iris Apfel with her style brings a lot to the fashion world. For me the most important thing is how much of your character can you put into your design or style. I am looking forward and following up close Virginie Viard as I want to see how amazing she will be at Chancel. Last but not least Celine Dion is quiet inspiring to me with her bold and brave style.
What is femininity according to you? – I correlate femininity with elegance. And that does not mean skirts and high heels, we have seen women in suits that are very elegant too. Elegance is catching a balance of colour, detail and style in you look. I don’t know why but I think what ever your style is you can be elegant with in that style and for me that is the key to the femininity.
Name 5 things you cannot live without. – My work, my family, coffee, stress and my dreams
Where do you see the brand and yourself going in the future? – Well hopefully working with the Royal Family, designing for Met Gala and other events, designing for more runways to have more room to express my creativity. Who knows possibly one day being a head hat designer of a big fashion house there are no limits to where I see my brand in the future to be honest.
Keep up with Merve on Instagram @mervebayindirofficial
Get your copy of DESIGN SCENE Issue 31 in print & digital.