Gökay Gündoğdu, the mastermind behind the meteoric rise of T.A.G.G., has carved a distinctive path to success through a dynamic blend of international education and innovative thinking.
With an undergraduate degree in business administration from Yeditepe University, followed by an enlightening exchange program in New York focusing on marketing and brand management, Gündoğdu’s journey took an exciting turn when he pursued a master’s degree in business design at Domus Academy in Milan. This unique academic background has positioned him as a trailblazer in the creative industries, spearheading T.A.G.G.’s ascent to become one of the most rapidly growing and customer-adored brands of recent times.
Coming from an industrialist family, he convinced his family of his career choice as a fashion designer after much effort. Despite his family’s initial wish for him to receive an education in a field that would prepare him to work in their company, Gündoğdu excelled in all the schools he attended and eventually obtained permission from his family to pursue education in the field he desired. Obtaining his education at Milan’s Domus Academy in 2007 was a period of further shaping his interest and talent in design and fashion design. After working with various brands and providing them consultancy services, he established his own brand in 2014.
“I always wanted to create a ready-to-wear fashion brand. My experiences in brand management and marketing activities in the luxury segment encouraged me more towards creating a brand rather than just being a designer,” he says, recounting the days when he officially stepped into the fashion world.
He initiated his brand without the financial backing of his family and established its foundations using the money he saved from his work. Bringing his brand to its current status is one of his greatest sources of pride. When I asked how his family looks at his achievements now, he said: “Indeed, they are very proud. They also have great respect for the collections being well-received not only in Türkiye but also abroad. But, of course, it’s also a fact that while I was on this path, there were times when they really wanted me to give up and return to the family business.”
While having coffee with Gündoğdu at his new showroom on Şişli’s Halaskargazi Avenue, I can’t help but mention that it’s still a work in progress. Every room is a hive of activity, and artisans occasionally enter the room with garments in hand to confirm specific details before exiting. The showroom exudes an elegant, all-white ambiance with stylish cornice details, making it feel more like Paris than Istanbul. As I ponder these thoughts, Gündoğdu continues with his words: “We are incredibly busy at the moment. Next week, we’ll be presenting to buyers during Paris Fashion Week. We’ll be hosting buyer teams there for a whole week. After that, I’ll be showcasing my collection at Dubai Fashion Week. As for the opening of this showroom, who knows when that will happen.
Additionally, we’ll be participating with the Fashion Designers Association (MTD) at the Qatar Expo. We have a special project with 40 designers, all working on the theme of “Dance of Flowers.” We choose one look from our own collection and transform it. The entire runway show will revolve around this theme of transformation. Everything is happening one after the other right now.”
With inexhaustible energy, Gündoğdu is also behind the design Tarkan, a Turkish megastar, wore at his recent concert in Monte Carlo. The designer explained: “It was the first time Tarkan performed on stage in outfits he had designed himself. He had a dream of creating his own stage costumes, and he had sketches. We came together to bring his sketches to life. Stylist Ipek Ersoy brought us together. Transforming a sketch on paper into an actual garment is quite a different journey. He’s a very special artist, and it was a pleasure to work with him. However, such collaborations or couture work aren’t at the center of my fashion journey unless there’s someone I’m very excited about.”
“For years, I’ve been trying to incorporate the concept of silent luxury into my designs. Sometimes, a model that may not seem too bold on a hanger transforms into a very glamorous and assertive piece when it meets the female body. My style is all about strong and impactful women. This woman in my designs never needs to be masculine or present herself as a sexual object. With what she wears, you can easily notice both her feminine elegance and that power she carries wherever she goes,” explains Gökay Gündoğdu, outlining the overall direction of his collections and the T.A.G.G. woman.
When asked, “Which characteristics of the region we were born in influence you the most?” Gündoğdu said: “The thing I struggle with the most in my life. I love simple, straightforward things. The form is crucial to me. The power that form adds to you is very important … I guess this region serves as an inspiration for me in exactly this regard. I want to see women as strong and empower them … Because unfortunately, in the region we were born into, women face challenges in this regard. Women can be strong with their femininity. It’s precious to achieve this without losing the woman’s lines. What women are exposed to makes me want to see them even stronger. You can clearly see this in all the collections I’ve created.”
I see a designer before me who showcased his first collection in Milan and entered seven stores with that collection. The designer says: “I’m walking towards a dream. And I believe I’m getting closer to that dream. I want to become a brand known on an international platform. Making a mark in the fashion world depends not only on design prowess but also on the financial resources you have. Right now, our collections are sold in many countries. We’re working on opening stores in Paris and Milan. In the U.S., we’ll enter the market with corners in different cities. Next year will be even more ambitious for us.”