If you see women and men running around with shopping bags on their arms in Istanbul, do not be alarmed because the city's bustling shopping season has arrived. The Istanbul ShoppingFest (ISF) is coming to town for the seventh time and this year under the initiative "Design ISF" and promises a new shopping experience for Istanbulites and tourists, as well.
The annual festival that began in 2010 amid aims to turn the mega-city of Istanbul into a center of attraction as a major international shopping destination, the Istanbul ShoppingFest is organized by the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO), Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's cultural enterprise KÜLTÜR A.Ş., the Turkish Association of Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) and the Turkish Federation of Shopping Centers and Retailers (TAMPF). More importantly, this year's festival embraces the theme of "sharing" and aims to spread not only a love of shopping but also information about Istanbul's history, culture and the local love of fashion.
Having kicked off on Saturday, the festival is set to continue until July 16.
Design ISF: A breath of fresh air
For the first time this year, Istanbul ShoppingFest is bringing together independent designers with fashion lovers. Under the initiative Design ISF, the Istanbul ShoppingFest will have special stalls set up at strategic spots across the city; namely, Aksaya, Capitol, Emaar Square, Forum Istanbul, İstinye Park, Kanyon, Palladium, Venezia and Zorlu Center, where the designs of Turkish designers will be displayed. Shoppers will be able to get their hands on Indie designs as well as designs by renowned Turkish designers such as Arzu Kaprol and Gamze Saraçoğlu, as well as products of various producers working in the jewelry and accessories sector, furniture, ceramics, graphics, textils, books, and organic food. Moreover, designers and leading figures from these sectors will hold a panel and Q & A session at Design ISF.
Wide range of events await visitors
While Istanbul ShoppingFest may be an event dedicated to shopping and fashion, it is not only about going on a shopping spree. Throughout the festival, art lovers will have the chance to take a look at the latest works by artists including Günseli Kato, Malik Bulut, Yılmaz Kale, Ebru Yücel Kale, Tasarım Vakfı, Elif Tutka, Ömer Atakan, Yusuf Aygeç, Aynur Önürmen and Rüstem Ekici in special stalls reserved exclusively for renowned Turkish artists.
The Uninvited Jazz Band, Tango Rojo, Can Türkkan, Arbil Çelen, Jülide Hatay, Deniz Güngör and Ali Deniz Kardelen will light up the stage with music and dance performances while Rudolf Van Nunen, Sare Palaska, Aslı Bilgin, Nilay Yılmaz, Sevil Dolmacı, Tolga Gümüşay, Çiğdem Gündeş, Funda Özlem Şeran and Masalcı Anne will give visitors the chance to enjoy new experiences through customized workshops.
Dilara Koçak, Özge Lokmanhekim, Zeynep Özçoban, Hande Akın and Yelda İpekli are scheduled to come together with visitors until the end of the festival.
On the other hand, Mert Rusçuklu will broadcast live radio shows at ShoppingFest stalls.
The Grand Bazaar comes together with ShoppingFest
The Istanbul ShoppingFest brings the spirit of the festival to the Grand Bazaar, which is world's biggest and oldest shopping mall located in Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet district. Under the theme, "Have you ever seen the Grand Bazaar," Istanbul's oldest, covered bazaar will offer the ultimate shopping experience to visitors. Craftsmen who represent the traditional arts that have historic roots in the history of Istanbul as well as young artists and designers will unite at the Grand Bazaar where shoppers will have a chance to witness the blend of the old and the contemporary.
Through various workshops, exhibitions and panel sessions, visitors will gain an understanding of the spirit of the Grand Bazaar up close. Moreover, renowned figures will share their memories and experiences in the scope of the Grand Bazaar with visitors.