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Cultural events


Fashion designer Erol Albayrak produced the TV documentary Sultans of the Fashion in 2000 together with Gülay Orhan of Fatusch Productions in Rotterdam. He also realized projects such as Selamlik c.q. Levni supported by a.o. the Prins Clausfonds. Albayrak plans to open a design Centre in Rotterdam, combining work of artists/designers from diverse cultural backgrounds with educational and social projects. As an example of a social project he initiated and wishes to continue in the design centre he mentioned a fashion show he organized for the Turkish Kidney Fund. Turkey suffers from earthquakes and the first organ that stops working when someone is trapped under a collapsed building is the kidney. The number of dialysis machines in Turkey is very limited, therefore well known artists and designers design t-shirts to be sold at the fashion show, and the earnings will be used to buy dialysis machines. Albayrak uses ethnic themes from Anatolian civilizations in his collections as well as modernized Ottoman motifs. For example, the dress which Miss Turkey wore at the Miss World event in 2005 was designed by Albayrak and based on a collage of Ottoman motifs on a jeans textile. See http://www.leveninturkije.nl/pageframe.php?page=mode.


The Textile Research Center Leiden (founded in 1991) aims at the stimulation of the study and exhibition of textile and clothes, relating these to the identity of both their producers and consumers. The center hosted several exhibitions and projects related to Turkey. From October 2009 – March 2010 there was an exhibition called “Oya: Turkish Lace” about the various types of oya, how it is made and how it is used. In June there was a lecture about Fezzes and Tarbushes, where the differences and use of these types of headgear were discussed. In August 2010 there will be an exhibition about Turkish circumcision outfits, showing the cultural and religious importance of this event in a man’s life. As for plans for the future, together with Leiden University there are preparations for an exhibition wherein traditional Turkish dresses for men, women and children will be the point of focus. This project will mainly be concerned with regional dresses from the main groups in Anatolia, thereby reflecting the diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds of Turkey. This exhibition is planned to begin in 2011, not only with the help from Leiden University, but also with that of local Turkish women’s groups. See http://www.trc-leiden.nl.


Streetlab (founded in 2005) is a Dutch platform dedicated to young artists such as fashion designers, photographers, illustrators, graphic designers and musicians. They organize exhibitions, portfolio nights, business cases and workshops. In 2008 Streetlab organized events abroad, exhibiting in New York, Russia and Istanbul. The Streetlab exhibition in Istanbul was organized by 5 Dutch and 6 Turkish fashion designers and took place in Beyoglu, the most modern European part of Istanbul. The designers also attended a special workshop about international cultural entrepreneurship. In Istanbul there have been partnerships with Bant Magazine and LeCool Istanbul.


In 2009 Hülya Aydin, director of Axcess International Projects, organized a fashion show with Dutch and Turkish designers at the Rahmi Koç Museum in Istanbul. Some 30 well known Turkish fashion models like Şenay Akay, Çağla Şikel, Ahu Yağtu and Pınar Tezcan showed over a hundred outfits from names as Erol Albayrak, Ümit Ünal, Arzu Kaprol, Jeroen van Tuyl, Sara Vrugt, EnD (Eva and Delia), Dilek Hanif, Hatice Gökçe, Mada van Gaans, Özlem Süer, Emily Hermans, Bas Kosters and Edwin Ousdhoorn choreographed by Uğurkan Erez. The Groninger Museum showed the first big retrospective of 10 years collections by fashion designer Hussein Chalayan (Nicosia, 1970) in 2005. Chalayan is one of the most innovative, experimental and conceptual fashion designers from Turkey. His work is influenced by architecture, philosophy and anthropology. NAi Press published the first monography on Hussein Chalayan’s work.

Sjouk Hoitsma, curator of fashion at the Historisch Museum Rotterdam, and guest curator Karin van Paassen showed key pieces of 19 young fashion designers from Turkey and the Netherlands at the 4 day fashion event initiated by Stichting Trafik: Bridges to Fashion. In the historic rooms of the Schielandhuis, films about Rotterdam and Istanbul were projected on big screens. During Bridges to Fashion, Turkish talent (Selim Baklaci) and established names (Bahar Korçan, Ümit Ünal) as well as Dutch designers (Jeroen van Tuyl, Iris van Herpen) showed their creations. There were also panel discussions and fashion shows. See http://www.8weekly.nl/artikel/6710/bridges-to-fashion-rotterdam-istanbul.html.


In 2006, Centraal Museum Utrecht organized the exhibition Global Fashion / Local Tradition. This exhibition focused on the effects globalization has on contemporary fashion and works of both well-known and lesser known designers were shown. The themes of the exhibition were: 

- An overview of Fashion Weeks around the globe;

- Global Fashion as a form of colonialism: mapping the world;

- Putting local cultural traditions on the global fashion map;

- How traditional cultures take over and adapt fashion-items;

- Exoticism in the history of costumes;

- International designers using their own cultural background. Hussein Chalayan’s Ambimorphous collection was shown together with works by Vivienne Westwood, Bernhard Willhelm, Sophia Kokolasaki, Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, Xuly Bet, Junya Watanabe and Issey Miyake. Hussein Chalayan often plays with elements of Turkish traditional costumes and traditions.

A Dutch-English catalogue was published ‘Global Fashion / Local Tradition’ at uitgeverij Terra.