Over a semester break at Istanbul Technical University, Taskisla Campus transformed into a charming catwalk and showroom setting for numerous designers and brands, as it played host to Istanbul’s first Fashion Days from Aug. 27-29. The event was organized by Itkib in collaboration with the Fashion Designers Association and Istanbul Fashion Academy. It also hosted, on the day before the official start to the event, Itkib’s Young Fashion Designers Contest, newly named Koza.

The concept of bringing together all organizations related to fashion on to a single organized platform drew a positive response from visitors, press and buyers from several countries.

“These first IFDs were a great success,” said Claudio Nardone, a buyer from the Swiss retailer Globus. “I have seen lots of inspiring collections. The designers’ high level of quality surprised me. For the future I recommend more brands representing at the Brandist section.”

Hikmet Tanriverdi, Chairman of the Istanbul Ready-Made and Apparel Exporters Association, was also very satisfied. “So far, we’ve been very selective with the exhibited collections and brands, due to many labels having trouble finishing their 2010 summer lines. For sure there will be a change in the portfolio in the future as we’ve already gotten lots of positive feedback and interest from companies that want to participate. As for the segments, we’ll still focus on ready-to-wear as well as on brands from the textile industry, the still emerging denim sector….We definitely have internationally renown labels here such as Colin’s and Mavi.”

Indeed, Mavi, usually presenting at key international fairs, showed its collection at IFD, leading the way for other Turkish brands to show here. “So far, there was no appropriate local platform for the brand to present,” Merve Uyar, Mavi PR Account Manager, said, “but the concept of IFD, the well-selected mix of brands and designers seemed very attractive to us. Particularly as an internationally representative Turkish company, it is important for us to support the project.”

Meanwhile, the Fashion Lab displayed collections of leading Turkish designers such as Koza jury member Arzu Kaprol and Hakan Yildirim. Adding to the Brandist’s portfolio of leading ready-to-wear companies were Mavi and BNG. For most of the labels, however, IFD represented their first opportunity ever to present outfits on the catwalk. Altogether, the fairs hosted about 35 labels while the two stages opened up to about 18 catwalk shows.

According to Hikmet Tanriverdi, IFD will be held seasonally, beginning in 2010, in February and August, to further position Istanbul as an international fashion center already known for designers such as Hussein Chalayan, Dice Kayek and Atil Kutoglu.

—Karin Leiberg