Gülçin Çengel is a very modest person. It’s only when she’s described by other people that she appears to be the creative soul everyone talks about: the young fashion designer who is currently the name in Turkish fashion to look out for.
The woman that Çengel designs for is much like herself: strong and confident, but in need of endorsement — which in her case comes from Istanbul Fashion Incube, Turkey’s first fashion business incubator. “The philosophy of my brand is to empower women,” Çengel says. “When I heard that the dresses from my first collection had been compared to armor, I was astonished — this was exactly the message that we were trying to get across.”
It is surprising to hear such words from someone who seems to have fought against all odds on her career path — despite her young age, Çengel became the talk of the town just a few months after launching her own brand. But it is not all as easy as it seems. People who work with her admit that she gives her all to the business while fighting personal battles (in 2015, Çengel has been diagnosed with cancer and went through chemotherapy) and never complaining about it. “I have no other life than work,” she says openly, “I love to work.”
The Istanbul Fashion Week presented Çengel’s couture debut in 2015 and made a clear distinction between two lines of her brand. The gowns, inspired by the Moorish buildings of Italy, were not her first that refer to architecture — 3D patterns are among her signature details and biggest craftsmanship strengths. “In university, my patterns changed after I took industrial design classes — I combined both disciplines,” Çengel says, “Also my father does scaffolding, and I grew up watching him making 3D drawings. It influenced me a lot. My work is about seeing things three dimensionally.”
Gülçin Çengel will showcase her latest collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Istanbul on March 24, 2017. Çengel’s atelier/showroom is located in 6. Gazeteciler Sitesi, Menekşe Sokak No.55, Akatlar. Her ready-to-wear pieces are sold at V2K stores and Gizia Gate in Nişantaşı.