This Slow-Fashion Designer to Open First U.S. on Madison Ave.

8/28/2017
'The world's economy is in a difficult situation due to fast and cheap consumption. I have always been on the side of slow fashion.  It stands for choosing what is best for both nature and human health,' says the designer.

For eons, The Black Sea Region of Turkey has been a geo-ecological zone of deep blue waters and green fertile lands and is now the inspiration for the vibrant Spring/Summer 2018 collection created by John Paul Ataker. The designer will debut this season's looks at Skylight Clarkson Square on Mon., Sept. 11, 2017, as part of IMG's New York Fashion Week in anticipation of the ready-to-wear brand's first U.S. flagship store opening in Oct. 2017 on upper Madison Avenue.

The collection carries the cultural gusto and stamina of the wicker quilt art of fishermen, fishing and sailing ropes, and authentic wrung bracelets of the silversmiths of Trebizond, the vernacular knitting and weaving artisanship and ethnic Kazaz silver knot art. The region is known for its beautiful seacoasts, mountainous terrain and picturesque valleys of thick green foliage.  It boasts high, fresh aired rich plateaus and is home to an industrious and innovative people who live by a rewarding but stubborn, oftentimes skittish and rough sea, with fruitful orchards and groves.  Hardworking, plain living farmers toil hard but live healthy and long lives in the bosom of Mother Nature. 

The Black Sea has become a bearer of what designer Numan Ataker has termed "slow fashion."  He is calling on other parts of the world to opt for slow fashion because "it is about being purposeful and realizing that fewer is better and healthier both for humankind and our planet."  Ataker cautiously warns that the world is at the helm of an unreasonable and fatal grip of what is becoming a faster and faster consuming vicious cycle.

"The world's economy is in a difficult situation due to fast and cheap consumption. I have always been on the side of slow fashion.  It stands for choosing what is best for both nature and human health," says the designer.

This season's collection is based on the rich cultural heritage and folklore of The Black Sea zone of Turkey.  Authentic and vernacular assets of the region are incorporated into Ataker's signature gowns, dresses and separates designed for daily and formal wear.  Inspired by native and traditional garments of the people, "cepken" (bolero jackets), shalwar (baggy pants), peshtemal (loincloth), and waistcoats have been modified for the collection in a range of fabrics spanning from cotton to linen, organza to jacquard and viscose finalized by hand sewn needlework.  The color palate this season has a large emphasis on unbleached fabrics and is predominantly white, ivory and black.

In line with "slow fashion" principles, all of the materials and dyes have been chosen to be as environmentally and ecologically friendly as possible with a focus on human health and wellness not only with the end products and wearer in mind, but throughout the production process as well.

The designer continues to embrace structural elements and creates all of his collections from the fabric up, with the premier focus on textile creation that remains exclusive to his brand.  Ataker's signature shapes and tailored silhouettes are constructed to enhance the female form while the core attributes of deliberate detailing and sculptural aspects allows the John Paul Ataker woman to feel her most feminine and empowered self.

The designer's passion lies in the merging together of different quality of materials, and techniques to reach the desired effect for the pattern he seeks; a creative process he takes pride in achieving through much time, patience and years of expertise learned from growing up as a textile designer and learning the craft hands-on.

The runway will also present a line of exclusive shoes designed by John Paul Ataker as contemporary interpretations of traditional fishermen's boots and farmers' footwear embellished with metallic fishermen cords.

The models on the runway will purposefully convey Ataker's message that is "natural is beautiful" and will be wearing almost no makeup.  The fishermen's ropes used in the collection will also be tied into the hair styles this season.

The John Paul Ataker SS18 collection carries a grave warning banner with it: the runway show has been choreographed honoring the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear environmental disaster.   The show will close with a song by Kazim Koyuncu, a favorite musician from The Black Sea Region, who was a victim of the fatal nuclear fallout of Chernobyl meltdown in 1986; and whose consequences loom as a spectre over the fates of the region's peoples.

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