Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fashion Anthropology

Wandering around the Pera district of Istanbul, the last thing you may expect is to run into a Japanese/Turkish Fashion House. 

Expect the unexpected. 

Wander off of Istiklal Caddesi and into the heart of the the Pera and you will find "Edo Butik" a fashion store that prides itself on inviting Japanese, Brazilian, and Turkish Anthropologists to design clothes. Who knew I would find a kickass dress inspired by kimonos in Istanbul? 

My favorite line though, was "Jarna tribal" designed by anthropoligst Can Ozturk, who after years of anthropology research and tribal exploration in Vietnam, the Amazons, native American reserves, Maharaj, and Eskimo land, decided to make clothes. Jarna is "dedicated to the re-styling of the local accessories and outfits to urban life." All of the pieces are one of a kind and handmade. Jarna wants to "retell the world of a traveller" and demonstrate "its soul sometimes in the traditional pants of fishermen" or in 80 year old beads from Nagaland, or sandals a la Guatemala. 

I of course had to try everything on in the dressing rooms decked out in Japanese and Turkish fashion magazines.

 Now, paying 320 Turkish Lire for some of these things just wasn't happening for me. Especially when the Hippie District down the street sells similar styles for a third of the price in vintage clothing from the early Nationalist period or imports from India. But I will show you the raw silk skirt/pants with a Tibetan prayer chord attached that I fell in love with. Something about the uniqueness and branding of a line as "intellectual" and "anthropological" is enough to make any Yuppie like myself fall in love. 

After trying everything on, I chatted with the people working there and a published author who walked in. The English/Turkish barrier posed a problem, but we all appreciated the power of branding, fashion, and style-- even if the boho look isn't quite the season (more trashy 80's revival and geometric patterning.... the Japanese looks are more on than the tribal). 

Today's Vanity may not be an object, but rather a website, a lifestyle for Istanbulers like myself, who want a Guide to Modern Istanbul. Meet PukkaLiving (link embedded) for those of us who don't want to only bask in 500 year old mosques (as much as I LOVE that), but also enjoy the latest in culture, fashion, eating, and living. Pukka--even if it does sound a little cheesy and Japanese Anime for my taste-- offers articles about what is "It" in Istanbul. 

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