We met Dilek Yamakoglu, a designer who is building a fashion empire. For the opening of Dilek Yamakoglu first shop in Brussels, we met her and we are glad to share this interview with you.
Toukan and Palmyre : Hello Dilek!
Dilek Yamakoglu : Hello!
T&P : We are happy to be here! Can you tell us about yourself ? From which planet are you?
DY : My name is Dilek Yamakoglu and I am a Turkish Muslim. I’m 26 and I’m a mother of 3.
T&P : Can you tell us about your career ? Why and how have you become the designer you are today?
DY : I like working with my hands, I like doing things with my hands, whether it deals with baking or else. I love learning. I actually trained as a makeup artist and as a hairdresser prior to becoming a designer. As time went by, I noticed that people often came to me for fashion advice about clothes and hijabs. So I began to think about creating my clothing store. Like a lot of people, I realised that finding the right clothes was difficult when you wore the hijab. Most of the time, we go towards oversize clothes and it is not necessarily suitable. Therefore, we launched our online store providing items adapted for women who wear the hijab. And the advantage is that everyone can wear them. They fit every style.All we had to do is make our brand known and what better way to do it than using social networks? I remember putting up my first video on Youtube while I was pregnant. (smile) But it’s after I gave birth that we really gave our all to developing our brand.
T&P : Technically, how can one become a designer?
DY : I’m not going to get into intricate details. I didn’t go to a fashion design shcool but I imagine the items, I draw my designs and I send them to whorshops.
T&P : What were the ups and downs during this adventure ?
DY : I’d say there weren’t a lot of downs, Al hamdoulillah. Allah has always sent the right people in my life. For example, one of my models was hired randomly. She was standing at a bus stop when my husband passed by. Same thing with another one of my models : I met her in a shop and we talked. It turned out her employer had a worshop where my ccreations are being made right now. My items are manufactured in Turkey and some people wanted to add things to my creations. Indeed they had different tastes.
T&P : What do you mean?
DY : The Turks like shiny things (smile) and I have a simple and more classical style. It was sometimes difficult to get. But now, Al Hamdoulillah, I even create items for them.
T&P : Let’s talk about Turkey, is it a professional choice or is it because you like this country?
DY : I was born and I grew up in France. When my husband and I met in high school we planned to live in Turkey one day. It was our dream. He studied business in order to become a businessman and we always wanted to have a company. Turkey was the perfect country for that. It is easier there than in France where it would have been 4 years to achieve our goal.
Mehmet Yamakoglu : Here we have reached our aim in less than a year. Turkey makes our dreams come true.
T&P : It’s amazing!
DY : However, we don’t sleep a lot. Some days, we don’t even sleep. And we don’t get to see our children a lot. There is a little anecdote : my husband showed up barely 15 minutes before I delivered my third child. I couldn’t travel because of my pregnancy and he was preparing the first collection in Turkey.
T&P : You are a strong team ! Where do you see yourself in few years? Do you have other plans?
DY : I have a lot of projects ! I am savouring the opening. I tought we would open it later and I’m really proud to have accomplished this so fast. We plan to settle for good in Turkey this year and to have our own workshop. Then, we’ll create my brand of leather goods, jewels and perfume. Right now, our priority is to extend our showroom inshAllah. We have so much work that we hired two assistants.
T&P : Do you think about franchising ?
DY : I do. I actually have a lot of requests. I don’t have time to answer ( and I would like to apologize for that) but we are going to take care of that.
T&P : We would like to see evening dresses in your collection.
DY : (smile) Surprise, surprise …
T&P : Do you have a message for the women who would like to launch a business or to start a project ?
DY : Always believe you can make it, always! Go for it and don’t hesitate to ask for help. It was hard for me to leave my children. Even though I left them in my grandparents’care, it was difficult. But I am preparing their future.
T&P : Thank you Dilek!
DY : Thank you!
Toukan & Palmyre