Istanbul is a heaven when it comes to discovering the original works of Turkish designers. The following stores do not only showcase original Turkish designs, they also happen to be some of the most beautifully displayed shops in town and in some you can even get a cup of coffee while perusing the many potential gifts that represent your love the best.
Souq Dükkan is the mothership of shops, bringing together a number of independent Turkish designers under the same roof. Their story started off as a series of highly anticipated and frequented pop-up "Souq" bazaars in Karaköy.
Now, they operate a full-time venue in Kanyon in Levent, where you can check out their permanent and rotating displays of unique designs spanning from clothing to bags, home accessories to ceramics and art objects. The space-themed candles are truly out of this world and there's even a botanical corner in the shop.
Located in Galata, Lunapark specializes in showcasing items designed or made solely by Turkish artists. "Turkish Very Much" is the slogan of this impeccable boutique shop that boasts a selection of over 170 Turkish design products ranging from nostalgic to innovative to humorous. They include bed linens, home decor, accessories, amigurumi toys, bags, soaps, and stationery.
For Valentine's Day, the shop's website has an entire section devoted to love-themed items. Their "cat people," "love birds" and "Mr. and Mrs." pillowcases are particular adorable options for the occasion.
Conveniently situated in the Tomtom neighborhood Beyoğlu, where Tophane, Karaköy, and Galata intersect, %100 Istanbul is an upcycle design store that creates bags, accessories, and organizers out of recycled materials. Their products specialize in exquisite prints including a women's shoe series created from images painted by the famous Turkish artist Burhan Doğançay.
Çiçek İşleri is a line of gift shops that sell one-of-a-kind, nature-inspired design accessories and art objects made from natural materials, like wood, marble, and ceramics.
They have a wide collection of products ranging from furniture to jewelry, notebooks to clocks, wall hangings, amigurumi and other figurines. While the original shop started off in Kadıköy they have since branched out to Tophane, Galata and also have a shop in Alaçatı, İzmir.
At its location in Galata, Aponia, a specialty T-shirt and graphic design store, also doubles as the Supermind coffee shop. Aponia excels in making titillating T-shirts with iconic imageries inspired by Turkey, like their popular "Istanbul: They call it chaos, we call it home" slogan underneath the imagery of Istanbul's iconic silhouette tangled up in a cat's cradle. For this particular holiday, their "Nothing but Love" T-shirts may be a more suited option as it has two spacemen doubling as cupids about to shoot their arrows into the world.
Valentine's Day Craft Market
This weekend, on Feb. 10-11, there will be a Valentine's Day Craft Market held at MOC Bomonti. This is an Aspect Designers Event, which are pop-up design markets held periodically in order to bring together independent designers in Istanbul to showcase their handicrafts and innovative products, which include gift items like jewelry and accessories.
This designers market is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday and
Kağıthane (House of Paper)
Kağıthane aka House of Paper is a gift shop in Karaköy that is devoted to all sorts of you-guessed-it, paper-related products. In addition to innovative stationary items, they also sell jewelry, home accessories, T-shirts, and bags.
Their line of creative wrapping papers, including themes such as cats or street names of Istanbul is a refreshing respite for gift-wrapping enthusiasts. For Valentine's Day, they also offer a special "Lover's Basket" that includes games, a wallet and gift checks that you can give to your loved ones.
Her Şey Aşktan
It's all in the name, as everything at Her Şey Aşktan is filled with love albeit inspired by the divine. This quaint store in Galata sells a wide variety of Turkish delights, as the proprietor's family has a legacy of making sweets that span back to the 1870s in Mardin. This shop takes "lokum" (Turkish delight) to a whole new level as in addition to offering a unique collection, including chocolate variations, which they serve in decorative boxes that could be considered a gift on their own. They also have a beautiful accessories collection with Islamic, Mevlana and Whirling Dervish motifs.
A design store located in the Uniq entertainment complex in Maslak, Sade Dükkan showcases a number of up-and-coming Turkish and international limited edition brands with items ranging from ceramics such as inspiring mugs as well as handicrafts out of wood, whimsical jewelry, adorable animal bags and a wide variety of art objects.
In a league of its own, Nahıl Dükkan, located on Bekar Sokak off İstiklal Avenue, offers a wide range of hand crocheted and knitted textiles, home accessories, stationery, jewelry, soaps and toys that are handcrafted by underprivileged women in Turkey, providing them with a sustainable source of income, while profits go to support women and childcare programs.
Doubling as the oldest bookstore in Bebek, Envai Dükkan has a diverse selection of unique gifts in addition to their signature coffee book collection. You can find notebooks, old prints, calligraphy, jewelry, ceramics and even fun Ottoman figurines.