Niyazi Erdoğan’s signature in men’s fashion

In my articles across various platforms, I often highlight how fashion brings together different aspects, views, expertise and fields under one umbrella. This is clearly seen when we look at the education and careers of fashion designers.

Many fashion designers find inspiration from different areas, and Niyazi Erdoğan is one of them. He finished his architecture degree in 1999 at Istanbul Technical University, where he drew inspiration from buildings and structures for his fashion designs.

After his education, Erdoğan entered the world of fashion. In 2003, he took part in the Young Fashion Designers Competition organized by the Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporter Associations (ITKIB), reaching the finals. Erdoğan’s designs, influenced by historical figures, target men who appreciate style, incorporating architectural elements and traditional symbols.

Under his own brand, Erdoğan regularly presents collections at fashion events, designs customized pieces and provides consulting and creative direction services for textile and retail companies.

I recently had the chance to meet Erdoğan at his showroom, where we discussed his latest collection, projects and journey in the fashion industry. Erdoğan, currently inspired by Abidin Dino for his new collection, calmly described his work as: “Abidin Dino is already a fascinating artist. But he also had his time in Paris … Just imagine, that one of his closest friends was Picasso. He had a deep friendship with Yaşar Kemal, it’s a world where art and life intertwine.”

He continued: “On one hand, they face significant challenges. On the other hand, there’s significant production underway. We’re currently working on an original collection, interpreting the style and simplicity of that era, while also incorporating some patterns. I’m already very excited about this collection.”

Creating men’s collections, consistently doing so for years and bringing a fresh perspective to men’s style with each collection probably isn’t easy.

Niyazi Erdoğan, inspired by architecture, enters fashion, blending architectural elements into designs for style-conscious men. (Getty Images Photo)
Niyazi Erdoğan, inspired by architecture, enters fashion, blending architectural elements into designs for style-conscious men. (Getty Images Photo)

I asked the successful designer where his collections are sold and he said: “Our biggest sales point is our website. Especially with the pandemic, our online sales have increased significantly. Our collaboration with a digital platform in 2019 played a crucial role in this. Thanks to a special program, those interested in buying our products can purchase them in their exact measurements and in three dimensions using a special mold technology.”

“Customers can easily purchase products that fit them well through the website, without facing difficulties like ‘buy-try-return.’ We also have sales points in various cities such as Istanbul, Bodrum and Çeşme.” He further added that he’s currently in discussions to establish pop-up stores in several European cities.

Having graduated from one of Türkiye’s top universities with a degree in architecture and established himself in the fashion world over the years, Erdoğan is a proven name.

I often ask him a question that’s frequently on my mind, can a fashion designer successfully launch and maintain their brand independently? Erdoğan answered: “Many fashion designers, including us, wear two hats. When establishing our brand, we didn’t realize that we needed to be good businessmen and investors. In Türkiye, all designers have to work on collections like artists while also dealing with all the financial issues of the brand.”

He continued: “Therefore, most of us have second hats in consulting jobs. We finance our own brands with the income from these consulting jobs. For this reason, I also provided consultancy services to many companies such as Blimber, Sarar and Colins. I still continue to provide consultancy services.”

“These consultations also allow you to interact with manufacturers as a designer, which is very valuable. There are also advantages such as being able to produce a product in the right place, access the right materials and not having problems with smaller production quantities up to larger companies,” he said.

I asked Niyazi Erdoğan about something we’ve all noticed: fashion design used to be really popular. Lots of young people wanted to be fashion designers, even if they weren’t really talented, just because it was trendy. There were so many fashion design schools popping up everywhere. But what’s it like now? Is fashion design still as popular as before?

Erdoğan laughed as he responded to my question: “Yes, there was a time when everyone wanted to be a fashion designer, and studying fashion was super popular. But now, cooking is the big thing. Pop culture has a big say in all this. Maybe during the pandemic, with everyone cooking at home more, it got people interested in cooking as a career. Or maybe all those cooking shows on TV convinced them. Either way, you gotta pick a career you’re good at and can stick with for a long time. Choosing something just because it’s popular doesn’t make much sense.”

Just like everywhere else, more designers are focusing on women’s fashion than men’s fashion in Türkiye. What’s Erdoğan’s take on this? He says: “For me, working with male customers is simpler. They’re clear about what they want and make decisions quickly. If their requests are unrealistic, it’s easier to communicate that. Dealing with similar issues with women can be more challenging.”

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