Climate change heats up fashion world: Turkish designer applauded for recycled collection

Published 18.12.2019 16:06
Updated 20.12.2019 02:29
Gülcan Selçuk created her own brand in 2007. Courtesy of Lazaza Gülcan Selçuk
Gülcan Selçuk created her own brand in 2007. (Courtesy of Lazaza Gülcan Selçuk)

Gülcan Selçuk's climate change-themed collection at Çırağan Palace drew attention for all the right reasons: Her sophisticated designs were innovative and dynamic, and every single look was made from recycled materials

The 3rd Istanbul Economy Summit might be over, but a Turkish fashion designer seems to have left a lasting mark on it with her environmentally-conscious and innovative collection created purely from recycled materials.

Gülcan Selçuk sat down with Daily Sabah to talk about her collection and the 21st century’s harshest reality: Climate change.

Describing climate change as a big problem for the world and humanity, Selçuk said the topic was something she was really passionate about, hence gave her great inspiration to create this 30-piece collection.

Selçuk divided her looks into four themes, “I reflected the drought, the melting of glaciers, air pollution and a green world.”

All of the looks were made from fabric scraps, garbage bags, dry tree bark, leaves of plants, old mirrors and all sorts of waste material.

She added that with the looks incorporating mirrors she tried to draw a comparison between ever-rising skyscrapers and old houses, and tell the story of the lives trapped between them.

"One of the dresses I made was based on a world map. With it, I wanted to emphasize that women are the ones carrying the world on their shoulders and that the only ones who can change the climate are, again, women. Women give birth to the future, they raise, educate and shape it. I made sure my pieces reflected both the power of the woman and how they shed light on our future, and I chose my fabrics accordingly," she said. "I first started by creating a world map. Then I went from a sparkling clean world to the melting glaciers, and from there I arrived at environmental (destruction) and air pollution, making my final stop at a green world."

She said this way her collection reflected a cycle of reuse, transformation and regeneration.

Although Selçuk has done several private collections and fashion shows, she hasn't done a collection of this nature.

"This has been my first collection for artistic purposes only," she said, adding that she had many other similar and unique projects in line for the future.

When asked if she had any plans to sell her pieces from the collection, Selçuk said she never dreamed of putting a price tag on any of the pieces, and said they will remain as works of art.

On the topic of fast-fashion and sustainability, Selçuk stressed that as a society we were programmed to consume everything quickly, and advised the youth to go against such tendencies and recycle and repurpose their clothes.

Stating that she is constantly looking for new ways to reinvent her look, Selçuk said she reuses her old clothes to make brand new outfits.

"For example, I attach a sleeve onto an old skirt to turn it into a blouse."

Selçuk said she first started to get into fashion designing at the age of 11. She said designing and creating was the only job she knew she would love. This love and passion culminated in the birth of her very own brand, Lazaza Gülcan Selçuk in 2007. Her brand focuses on evening wear and business professional attire.

Selçuk said she strived to make her brand one that would represent the lux and strong woman. She said she decided to launch her brand after she realized she couldn’t find the unique pieces she was looking for and saw an opportunity to make a place for herself in the fashion industry.

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