Meltem Özbek, who was born and raised in Istanbul yet gained global recognition with her unique style, is welcomed by IFA Paris Istanbul after MBFWI to talk about the world of fashion and her career story. Meltem shared the beauty of living in Istanbul that had been an inspiration both for her designs and creative process, and told her adventure that started as a dream and became as a her brand, Mell. And of course, we talked about the latest trends.
Can you summarize us the style of Meltem Özbek, Mell, in five words?
Simplicity, freedom, uniqueness, elegance and chicness.
How were the preparations and shoots of your collection and runway show for the first MBFWI Digital? What was your inspiration for the collection? Who did you work with?
MBFWI Digital that was a first for all of us had been a really nice experience for me. Of course, I realized the areas of improvement requiring fresh ideas so that this new experience can be managed better next time.
It was a collection inspired from the stunning bright lights of fun fairs. I believe that colors nourish the soul in this period that we all need to feel good. Moreover, 'Lunapark' (Fun Fair) song of Sezen Aksu had been an inspiration for me while creating this collection.
The accessories used in the collection are from 'The Ocean Jewels', and the shoes are from 'Derimod'. And for styling, I worked with Deniz Marşan.
In addition to your collections over the years, you have prepared successful and original shows in fashion weeks, too. This fashion week collections were 'timeless-seasonless'. So, how are these designs different from your other collections?
We are going through a strange and unparalleled period. So, both the fashion and the consumption perception evolve within themselves, too. The global fashion industry also underlines that we should slow down a little now. We are going through a period that it teaches us to prefer products that we can use in long term, but keeping design as our priority. This is a collection that tries to adapt to this period. Dominated by the shades of purple and water blue, the collection also has reds, pinks and greens.
The accessories, gemstone details and colors stand out. The glamor is hidden in details. Can you explain these details and your design perspective? What do you think the pandemic process will change in the fashion industry, will new normals create new fashion trends?
My brand's design perspective has always been simplicity and freedom in forms, and elegance and chicness in details. A strong design hiding chicness in simplicity had always motivated me. For me, design is chicness created just by a textured or folded fabric, or an asymmetrical cut of a plain fabric.
I had chosen this same path for this collection as in all the others. While the purple dress attracts attention with its color and folding, the blue strapless dress stands out with its bark-like texture enriched with chic gemstones.
This is a period that teaches us to simplify, slow down and return to the nature and inside. I believe that we are entering into a new term that we will only buy what we value, slowly putting an end to the fast consumption and capitalism era. The new normals will invite the fashion to simplify too, adhering to chicness and design quality.
What do you think about the changing and digitalizing fashion weeks across the globe, does their effect and splendor decrease with this process? How will the digitalized fashion weeks impact the sales?
Actually, this is something that may go well and enable reaching more people, if properly prepared. But of course, the taste of old fashion weeks and face-to-face interactions is different. However, I don't think it will impact the sales negatively. In fact, it may have a positive impact. This may be little challenging for the couture. The ready-to-wear sales would probably increase.
What would you recommend to IFA Paris students, based on your industry and own experiences?
For success, you should first love designing. You should put your heart into it. You have to work hard to be creative and to be a brand.