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Architecture & fashion


Fashion has been the biggest adventure of the 20th century; Kahraman (2004) expressed that the fashion industry has continued as part of the capitalist system. In other words, fashion has been the biggest discovery of capitalism. Fashion can be seen as language/specific vocabulary, as put by Roland Barthes, one can describe “fashion and its social agenda” (1990). Briefly, as Davis (1994) mentioned, clothes styles and the fashion that has been affected by these styles mean to a kind of a ‘code’. In this regard, life styles and places directly reflect this language / specific vocabulary or codes. The transformation of life style/places represents the shift of meaning in the fashion language.

            At this point, it is worth reminding that the concept of fashion basically is a phenomenon which was introduced by the high-class to show their difference from the low-class groups. It is not a desirable situation that the fashionable becomes widespread in public scale. As it starts to expand in the public, the sign of change is already given. The direction of this change, as stated above, occurs from the upper levels towards the lower levels of society. As a matter of fact, this movement direction is also valid in the relationship between spatial change and fashion. Behind the continuity of changes lie consumption and the pursuit of new brands and symbols, new codes and indicators created by it. What triggers change however, as stated above, is the start of the fashionable to become widespread in all groups of the society.

            In the process of globalization, the economic structure especially changing from the ‘80s onwards is creating new life styles and brands for the society which is directed by “media and fashion”. In other words, “life styles” makes up the target of marketing strategies. The fact that fashion mobilizes in mass markets means that everything, from life styles to sport habits, music, leisure activities, all are quickly getting consumed (Akpınar and Paker, 2009). Turkey, in this context, is producing a quick past and history. The fact that many ordinary things turned up in the recent past –[as a reflection of all of this, “fast-consumption” culture, spreading of virtual environments starting from the internet, YouTube, Facebook that are infiltrating much more into our lives, the use of four-wheel jeep drives, cell phones, credit cards,…skyscrapers of multinational companies, ultra-luxurious shopping centers emerging around these places, luxurious hotels and “ultra-luxurious residences”, living spaces behind high walls in and out of the city starting to take place in the geography of the city]- reveals effectively the fact that change does not have a deep past and past very quickly becomes history.

All these can be thought as a radical disconnection from the past. However, it can be stated that this is a permanent “change” period and a new factor identifying the whole world. The fact that Turkey becomes a more consuming society day by day renders the coexistence of the glimmering world and the other world that we ignore, and which is shaped by global dynamics. But as much again, architecture, fashion, art markets and even everyday life today in Turkey expose vivacity incomparable to the previous periods. A generation living a new, young and alternative life is emerging. At this point, what else is needed for a new trend or movement to be born? Somehow it can be said that the most important dilemma brought by globalization on the urban context as well as the way out depends on this situation. In this milieu, those who wish to lead a distinctive life in this environment search for an alternative. Living an alternative life, aiming to change the world, trying to express themselves with their creativity and particularity, these people are creating brand new, unique languages and codes which are continuously renewed. Just like breaking points triggering change, they try to be the pioneers of the season’s fashion by turning to “haute couture” designs and different attraction areas. The underlying reason of the abandonment of accustomed patterns in the fashion, design, architecture and even culinary/gastronomic world and the opening of brand new places becomes to be this fact. “Alternative lives” are being set up at new focal points of the cities. With such a viewpoint, Turkey is potentially a rich resource. Some cities embrace this transformation completely and transform themselves as a whole. Istanbul, in this sense, is one of the cities transforming itself as a brand or a gem by adding besides its known various historical and cultural layers, the components like fashion-design-architecture.

            On the other hand, the valid and powerful fashion, architecture and design world of each period can be produced by the maximum use of the mental effort and technological possibilities of that period. What are these possibilities today? It might be difficult to answer this question with a clear indication, but it can be seen as a drive of an effort to create a “timeless style” going beyond being seasonal and grasping the mental situation of today.