“I try my best and I always go hard in everything I do. I am not sitting home waiting for something to happen.“
Esra, German – Turkish fashion designer with a Persian name was born in Munich 23 years ago.
Her grandparents came to Europe around 1964 to change their destinies and find employment. Eventually, they decided to settle in Munich. After so many years they still feel strangers in this host land for many reasons: a language which they can’t speak properly, a so faraway culture, say nothing of the different diet. Let us be real, in exchange the new land offered much more possibilities than what Turkey could offer at that time, so that was the best choice they could take. “For us, grandchildren, Germany is home, Turkey is a destination where to spend a nice vacation but as soon as we step in a German airport the feeling which embrace us is always the same: welcome back home. It is also true that the Turkish feeling you have in Turkey is so far away from the Turkish feeling you sense in Germany, I can’t explain”. The parents and grandparents lost so many things by coming to Europe, this is why they want to make sure that Esra and her siblings preserve their culture by teaching them the language, inspire their eating habits by cooking and dining together traditional Turkish food.
Why fashion, Esra?
“I have always been used to drawing Japanese anime and I liked to draw them with different hair looks, add clothes for them to wear and make them fashionable. At that point I realized that I wanted to create clothes, it was funny to match them together, choosing the colours. I love drawing and love clothes so I have merged the two passions in one with the aim to make this big dream real. I am thrilled about the fact that my ideas have the chance to become real things, to feel and to touch. They originate from my head and come out into reality; seeing this process of transformation is amazing. I make everything by myself and I don’t like to copy, I want only my ideas.” The first collection of Esra, inspired by Hanbok (traditional Korean dress) and a bit from Yamamoto, is from 2014, a project with the university that took 6 months of hard work.
Why this overwhelming passion for Korea and Asia?
“Because it reminds me of my childhood, I was always watching Japanese anime. I love Asian food (and she can prepare it very well!), the culture, how they live with each other. I also tried to learn Korean on my own, starting of course from a real so difficult- to- deal- with alphabet.”
– Esra admires Karl Lagerfeld, defining him as a wonderful and special person. Her positive opinion about him came thanks to a documentary which drove her in the perception of him as intelligent, pragmatic, appreciating the unique way he communicates . She was also inspired by the designs of Yohji Yamamoto ; pure and clear, not exaggerated and not overloaded of accessories.
MDH is a private University in Munich. Esra told us in a calm state of mind that if in 10 years she won’t feel to be in the fashion industry anymore, she will simply switch to something different. “I try everything that I want to try, I wanted to study fashion design and I simply did it.” In the next future, she sees herself launching her own brand and bouncing it all over the world, the aim is to create a high quality product which the consumer can wear in daily life, won’t be Haute Couture. “I think that every- day- fashion is more interesting and eloquent because it can communicate the identity of a person. Sometimes it screams and sometimes it only whispers who you are, but it always communicates. Haute Couture is just elegant, someone that wears a Chanel dress, predictably I would say, wants to appear beautiful or elegant but it will actually be more difficult to decipher the personality. See the clothes, and you can perceive something about the person.”
What can you tell us about this school?
“Unfortunately it is very expensive, if you can’t afford it you can’t study there. My monthly fee is around 700€, I can afford it by working on the weekend, trying on my own and not asking my family for financial support. It is hard, yes, but life comes in its own way, it does not make sense to make many plans, just live it. I try my best and I always go hard in everything I do. I am not sitting home and waiting for something to happen.”
Because of her religion Esra has to cover her body and her hair. Some people say that she should feel uncomfortable in creating clothes for women who don’t need to be covered. “The reason why I make clothes is because I feel that I have to, this is what I want to do. When I create, I feel that I want to share what I am, it would make no sense to create clothes only for myself”.
Why do you choose to wear total black look (except for your red Chucks!)?
Black is always elegant, for every occasion; cocktail, dinner, everyday life, easy to combine with other things. Black is uncomplicated.
Would you compromise in order to get where you want?
“I wouldn’t, losing myself and my own ideas is not worth it, I want to do something that represents me and my thoughts.”
If you could give an advice to other fashion designers…
“Always believe in your dreams and yourself.”
How do you believe in yourself?
“If I really want to do something, I believe that I can do it. You learn this rule especially when you grow up with siblings, you have always to fight to earn your things!”
Your inspiration comes from…
“Everywhere; a movie, a landscape, a flower, a colour.”
If you could choose to be someone else, to change something or to move to a place where nobody knows you, where you don’t have to give explanations to anyone, what would you do?
“I think I will like to be born again as myself because I am actually happy in my life. My strength resides in the fact that I don’t worry about the things I cannot control, I put always my all in everything I do, I give 100% and if anything negative happens I try to transform it to my advantage.”
Are you like this because of you or because of your family?
“It’s my experience, and of course my religion influences my view, it’s part of my life. When I am praying my life becomes easier, those ten minutes or more of prayer appear without problems, I can be myself.”
Describe yourself in few words.
“Basically a positive girl with a good sense of humor, focused and strong. I am a tough girl, I don’t give up easily. I am always honest even though sometimes it is hard to do it because it can hurt… What do I hate? When people are not honest.”
Good luck Esra!
 About KARL LAGERFELD, the star of a new documentary. The four-hour production aired on September 7 – 2013 in Germany. The mini biopic focused on the designer’s career and the relationship between fashion and religion – drawing comparisons between fashion magazines and the bible, and likening models to angels. The film was directed by television journalist Martina Neuen. “It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek,” Neuen told WWD. “It cannot offer you redemption or anything eternal.” Lagerfeld allowed the journalist access to his shows and studio over a period of 16 months – and shared details of his personal life and career. The documentary, entitled Mode Als Religion (Fashion as a Religion), also features interviews with Diane Kruger, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claudia Schiffer, Linda Evangelista, Suzy Menkes and Milla Jovovich – to name but a few. “He is the most impressive person I’ve ever met,” added Neuen. “He is a true individual, and there’s a lightness of being around him.” Source: Vogue.co.uk.