Meet the designer behind Laika - Isil Kurt. Laika is more than just a brand, it's a community of art, sustainable fashion and a simple way of life. Why is the merging of art and fashion so important to them?
q: What does Laika mean to you?
a: First of all, Laika is addressing something that the world is in need of at the moment. We are supporting sustainable fashion by using fabrics made from 100% natural fibres. We also made a decision to connect this with my art, which is a great motivation for me. My paintings are my main source of inspiration and by merging that with these precious fabrics, it is, in my humble opinion, is the perfect kind of partnership. Hence, I created Laika, which is what I dreamed of for many years.
q: When you mention that Laika is a ‘whole habitat’, what do you mean by that?
a: It is an honour and a privilege for me to integrate Laika into everyones lives, especially those who love and follow art and fashion just like I do. Due to Laika being a sustainable fashion brand, every piece of the collection is made with such high quality materials that would last for generations.
q: Art is obviously a big part of your life and your designs, can you tell us a little bit about your design process?
a: Before I do anything else, I first decide on the colour scheme I want to use in my collection. Then, I start drawing and drafting my designs and go on to transfer them to a digital media. The models I use for my collections are timeless and like a blank canvas - the best way to express my designs. The next stage is the production, where everything is meticulously done. It's important for me to follow every step of the the process thoroughly at the ateliers, as when a problem occurs, I can help come up with an immediate solution to help improve our products.
q: Who is/are your favourite artists, and why?
a: I would say that Henri Matisse is one of my favourite sources of inspiration, especially when it comes to his use of colours and finding balance and naïveté. He once said, “What I dream of is an art of balance, purity, and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter... a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.” Another source of inspiration for me is the sculptor Brancusi. I'm always impressed by the basic features of his works and his symbolic descriptions.
q: If you could pick one piece from your collection, which one would it be?
a: Such a hard question! They are like my children and they all have different personalities. But if I had to pick one, I would say that the Palo Santo Kimono had a great effect on my story.
q: How did you find out about Curated Crowd?
a: It was totally out of luck. As we were wandering around London, we passed by your pop-up store, and then we had a joyful moment of meeting each other!
q: What attracted you to work with us?
a: After we met with Ana and Ada at the pop-up, we realised that we have so much in common, like our mindsets and values, which helped us believe that we would make a great team and collaborate well. What made the final push was their support for sustainable fashion and ethical manufacturing, which is a crucial factor for us.
Laika, like founder Isil Kurt said, is a lifestyle.
Similar to Curated Crowd's concept, we want everything to be included in our brand, not just clothing and designers, we want artists, interior designers, architects, etc. to be able to showcase their work with us. Isil has used Laika as as a platform to exhibit art, love and passion for sustainable fashion.
The combination of her drawings and silk garments are what makes them unique. Each piece has its own special pattern and is 100% ethically sourced and produced, supporting domestic production. It is this kind of support and production that the fashion industry is lacking at the moment. We need more brands like Laika to carry forward this way of working. Times are changing and we need to change with it. The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributing factors in climate change and it's brands like Laika that are starting to make a difference.
We are proud to have a brand and designer that is so in sync with us on board our ever-growing platform!