A few months ago we told you about the young designer of Turkish origin: Emre Pakel, who is slowly making his way into the Milanese scene thanks to a creative process in which sustainability and the transformation of materials coexist perfectly, creating something innovative, essential and functional. Today, in fact, for the column MeetTheBrand we propose an interview with the founder of the eponymous brand. We had the pleasure of chatting with the designer and getting to know more about his creative vision, what he draws inspiration from and how he manages to convey the environmental cause in his collections, especially the climate. This is an increasingly important issue for which even a powerful medium like fashion can make a difference.
Hi Emre, thank you for agreeing to our offer. Let’s start at the beginning of your story: Want to tell us about your background? When did you start your passion for fashion and how did you start your brand?
I started my journey after winning prestigious fashion design competitions in Izmir and Istanbul, Turkey. Being nominated by the Aegean Export Union Ready to Wear Competition, then started my career. I’ve been running fashion shows sponsored by Mercedes Benz for two seasons. So, all the results obtained in national and international fashion design competitions pushed me to continue my career. In 2018 I created my Pakel brand with a focus on product design, and now I’m launching my career in Milan.
How much did your Turkish origins and your training in Italy influence, in terms of style, your creative vision?
I don’t believe much in origins, but I believe that we all belong to the earth as human beings, even if we are not aware of it. The training I acquired in Italy at the Domus Academy in Milan was my springboard in the fashion system, and it was there that I gained a lot of experience. Gianfranco Olivotto, in particular, was a visionary leader within Domus in making me understand the new rules of the fashion world.
For those who don’t know you yet, how would you define your brand in three words?
“Based on Earth!”
What inspired you for your latest collection “Isn’t less Enough? ” What is the message you want to convey?
Before falling into the world of my dreams, I decided to confront reality and opened the doors of my closet. I asked myself questions and tried to find the answers. “What do I wear and above all, when and why do I wear these clothes? What about my wardrobe is really indispensable in my daily routine? Why am I dressing? Do I really need all these clothes? Is the pollution I have caused in the environment greater than my wardrobe as a designer? After all these questions, I asked myself: “Is it possible to make a lot of garments with a limited number of materials? “, and so I started my collection. I’ve been interested in sustainability since 2016, but I’ve been wondering, If we give a second chance to a product, does it find its first and last destiny?I thought people were looping into creating garbage generated by additional garbage without ever getting to a point. It was time to be honest. Recycling is only a temporary solution, but what about the future?
Which materials/ fabrics and processing techniques do you usually prefer?
In my wardrobe there is room for the trench made of recycled polyester from plastic bottles and the sweatshirt, a hidden place of my creativity. Sustainability is a way of life today, and we, as designers, have to use our creativity to fuel global protection measures at the moment. To be honest, no one needed a new jacket during the pandemic. All we needed was inspiration and a little hope for our future. Showing more design with fewer materials is my mission for the future.
Get lost in abundance or exist in rarity?
Your works put sustainability at the center, how do you manage to convey it through your creations? And above all, how can a brand reduce its environmental impact?
There are too many designers and new brands and everyone is pretty good at what they do. And I respect them all. However, when I ask people to tell me a product, a style or a symbol that describes that product, I don’t get many answers. I feel this is a fleeting abundance. Both for the world and for brands. The established brands have retained their identity, style and iconic garments for many years. But what about us? We’ve been lost for a long time, and this is poisoning not only us, but the environment now. When I realized that, I started thinking about how my brand reflected in people’s eyes. I realized that my first creation “Spyumbrellabag” still has its soul in spite of the passage of years. In my new brand, I updated my iconic bag and redesigned it to be used as a dress at the same time. There are so many possibilities in the world and it’s up to us to do something. It’s our job: to be lost in abundance or to exist in rarity?
Big brands should support emerging brands by acting as mentors and financial support.
What difficulties have you faced and are still facing in running an independent brand? Do you have any advice on that?
Big brands should support emerging brands by acting as mentors and financial support to create new breath and vision in the fashion world. This is the process behind true sustainability at every stage of our lives.
How did you develop your brand communication? Do you think social media is essential to allow an emerging designer to become known?
Social media is such a powerful tool in brand communication. I trust in my creativity and my supporters do the same. It was never about money or collaborations with other artists, it was always a matter of young and creative minds. Living the story of your collection while you write it makes you the true owner. Before I started working on my collection, I met a lot of climate activists, and I became friends with some of them. I listened to them and tried to understand them. It was a journey that led me to reflect on how to support them with one of the most influential communication tools: Fashion. I felt quite powerful within a very conscious generation: We were all defending the same thing in different languages. We wanted to show why it was necessary to be sustainable before making the collection.
Taking the cause forward with Elliot Magyar Santeen (young activist) I wanted to encourage the people around me and the green trench was a symbol of that. While hope remained stable, the messages changed. The audience was still there when we asked, “Are we still here?” It wasn’t too late to do something else. Learning from our mistakes, we started to shape the future. The climate crisis and global inequalities prevented us from being sustainable. Yet materials can be sustainable contrary to humanity. The collection was, in fact, the first tool with which I gave voice to my change, as well as an indication of my action. Taking preventive measures for a sustainable future is the responsibility of every citizen of the world, and the world needs us. It’s time to be part of it.
If you had to choose a brand to draw inspiration from and to collaborate with, who would you choose?
I’m totally a fan of Maison Margiela’s vision.
One last question before saying goodbye. . . what’s in Pakel’s future? Can you tell us something?
We have only one dream in our drawer: “Transform the Fashion to Sustainist Circulation for Earth”
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