Stylish, whimsical and playful, every handmade Rumisu scarf comes with a story that dips into your memories, childhood dreams and secret wishes and literally speaks to you, whispering "come out of your closet", " honour your inner voice", "medicine for your winter blues" while gently touching the skin with the delicate silks and softest cottons.
Designed by Pinar Yegin and Deniz Yegin Ikiizik, two sisters behind the brand, these silk squares are not so much about fashion, but artistic expression, inner feelings and discovering unique style with the help of mystical characters and fairy-tale creatures, rainbow of colours and positive vibes.
They are also pages of a journey that began with a project to support communities in the remote regions of Turkey and blossomed into successful, inspiring brand loved by the fashion insiders and magazine editors.
Needless to say it's been a priviledge to catch up with the creative duo who make the scarves I cannot imagine my life without...
WHO: Pinar Yegin and Deniz Yegin Ikiizik, the beautiful sisters, founders and designers behind Rumisu, an Istanbul-based fashion brand
WHAT: hand-made scarves, each illustrated by hand and then lovingly made in Turkey
WHERE: shop at Rumisu and Boticca, follow via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and get a dose of inspiration and latest updates from their blog.
WHY: these scarves are hand-made to perfection, they are unique, come in small quantities, adorned with "Hoya", a crocheted character hand-made by women from the Southeastern Turkey, serve as a lucky charm (clue is in the name) and are presented in gorgeous linen pouches with a hand-embroidered logo - "special" is not enough to describe it, they are truly something to collect, treasure and pass from generation to generation.
LOOK FOR: something that speaks to you... Through colour or words, or both... My personal favourites are Come Out of your Closet, Honour Your Inner Voice, Roarrr (I have the blue version, now need the orange one), Hats Off, Melon Demons, Fishing Flock and Lady Pus, but frankly, I am addicted and could continue daydreaming until I run out of options...
What does fashion mean to you?
Fastest way of self-expression.
Do you remember your first "fashion moment" when you knew that fashion really got under your skin?
Do not necessarily remember the "first moment", but remember it happening gradually. Our mum has definitely influenced us with her sense of style and attention to detail in all aspects of daily life.
Were you those little girls with a bunch of crayons?
We started joining art classes at a very young age, which put us at easy about expressing ourselves freely. Also we were lucky to have parents who were always very interested in art, so we grew up surrounded by great books and in museums and galleries during our travels.
Your "Come Out of Your Closet" scarf and the "mum & dad, I am an artist, not an economist" message that accompanies it always makes me giggle because this is so incredibly personal to me, too... Could you share your story and the journey from something rather "business'y" into such a creative field as fashion? What or who encourage you to make this step?
Pinar: yes I have studied economics at Harvard and finance at Wharton, and thought the adult and responsible thing to do was to have a "proper job" and invest in a "respectable career". I treated my artistic urges as a whim, not something to be treated seriously... I thought art could only feature in my life as a hobby or an extra curricular activity... Yet as I moved along my life, my dissatisfaction forced me to be honest with myself, and to "come out of the closet" as an artist. In this sense, Rumisu and our prints are channels of self-actualization and self-expression.
Starting your own fashion label is a challenge and big decision. How did you come up with an idea of the brand?
We didn't start with a "fashion brand" in mind, actually, it was more us trying to do what we enjoy above all and how we could share that... We both realised our love for illustration was stronger than other interests of ours, so we started to play with the idea, and as strong print lovers, it hit us that we were destined to create our own prints. So much fun!
We thought that a scarf offered us the perfect blank canvas to share our stories through our drawings, but since the start and still, we don't see Rumisu as just a scarf brand, but a "print making" brand that holds many other thrilling ideas for the future. We are simply taking it step by step...
Where does the name "Rumisu" came from?
"Rumi" means "from Anatolia" and we wanted to stay attached to our roots, while adding the word "su" into the mix, which means "water" in Turkish. We loved the way they sounded together as well as the meaning.
In Turkey the way we wish a project good luck is to simply say "let it flow like water", so it all came together nicely and we managed to hide a lucky charm within our name.
How does being sisters and two women with their individual style influence your work? Do you have particular responsibilities when it comes to running Rumisu?
We both started Rumisu simply because we wanted to be creatively involved, so the design aspect of our prints, collections, look of our shoots and the language in which we communicate our brand is all something we share... So far pretty much everything else is being shared as well...
How long does it take to create a new scarf?
Once we have an idea or see something that lights a spark, we start doodling. We illustrate separately, and create our own prints, however we communicate throughout the whole process, deciding on the layout of the print and the colour ways together. And we sure give ourselves great freedom in choosing what to illustrate about, as long as it is something that thrills us. But once a print is ready to go we take samples from our printers to approve the colours and quality. And in the meanwhile we start creating the hand crocheted corner creature for that specific design. Choosing a form for it and deciding on its colours.
Pinar makes the very first ones of our "amigurumis". We then send or take the samples to South Eastern Turkey to the ladies that we work with (whose cooperative is organised and supported by UNDP) and start the production phase.
Seeing a first sample of a new piece is always the best part!
Do you always draw your designs by hand?
Always. We created Rumisu simply because that's exactly what we love to do...
Sustainable fashion is one of the brands core values. Why did you decide to go down this route? And what, in your opinion, is essential to achieve the balance between sustainability and luxury?
Adding to the burden on our world would be an incredible weight on our conscious as well. As a result we are trying our best to be careful in every aspect of our production. We are choosing our materials with this in mind. We prefer natural fabrics, and print with eco-friendly and certified dyes. For the handmade aspect of our scarves, the little 3D characters and hand-embroidered packaging, we chose to cooperate with an UNDP project that aims to foster the sustainable economic development of women in an economically disadvantaged area of Turkey. Creating a win-win situation and contributing to our community in this way means a lot to us.
What inspires you?
Anything... Everything... Someone we met, some place we went to, dreams we might have had or even our inner voices... but mostly our inner child...
Do you ever imagine a woman who will be wearing your scarves?
Not specifically, we love to be surprised and see them on people we wouldn't have thought we'd see them on. We love to seduce anyone, from any gender or age group (we absolutely love seeing our pocket squares around the neck of kids, for example), who would enjoy our sense of humous and approach towards life...
Are there any particular scarves you love and wear the most?
As you can imagine we play around with them all the time and yes, even though we feel the same about them when they are all first born, some grow on us more than others with time and take us by surprise. But we came to realise that it is always a personal connection you make with a certain piece, either for its theme, playfulness or it or even its colours...
Deniz: I have a little obsession with anything "marine" themed, so I guess our "Mayday" and "Lady Jade" scarves are so far the closest to my heart.
Pinar: I am into my "aliens and monsters" as they remind me to have fun with my inner alien and not to take those "monsters" very seriously.
With many of your designs carrying a form of visual message, something personal, a smile... What kind of impact, you think can fashion make on the world we live in?
It can make all the difference. We believe fashion is one of the fastest ways to self-expression, so why not share along and spread a message that is important to us, when we can, in a creative and fun way? It's a way of talking without even opening your mouth. We cherish hearing that our clients choose a Rumisu piece because they find something that is close to them in that certain story, and so the love and the message spreads and that is priceless...
With that in mind, what should we expect from Rumisu in 2015?
Claws and teeth (smile). You'll see... Not the harmful kind though. Never!
Favourite quote or motto:
Deniz: "Nothing is worth more than this day" Goethe
Pinar: " There is a voice that doesn't use words." Rumi
Your style in three words:
D: Comfortable, playful with colour.
P: Simple with fun and funky highlights... could be colourful glasses, well worn jewellery or a much loved Rumisu.
One of your guilty pleasures:
D: oh, watching really badly made Turkish TV series sometimes (not much, but still more than I should)
P: hours of Pinterest, I lose myself in so many beautiful visuals and lose count of the hours...
A hidden talent of yours nobody really knows about:
D: I think my singing or, lets say, humming, calms down cats (smiles)
P: I am like a chameleon, my eyes can operate independently of each other... (smiles) An especially useful trait for scanning and spotting great finds in crowded flea market aisles!
D: Souq, that takes place in Karakoy, bringing new and exciting brands together, during selected weekends, for shopping. Definitely a "vapur" ride (lovely old ferries of Istanbul) for sightseeing, on the Bosphorus during which you will get to see the whole city; and Karakoy Lokantasi for both lunch and dinner - you should try both since their whole menu and set up changes from midday to evening!
P: Every Sunday there's a great flea market in Bomonti. You never know what will wash up onto the stalls of this great city that week! It is an incredibly treasure hunt. For sightseeing, I love walking around Eminent/Tahtakale area. You can a very good feel for the hustle and bustle of Istanbul. Visually it is very colourful and exciting as well. For eating out, Ciya in Kadikoy is my favourite. The chef is a very curious gourmet who travels extensively in Turkey to find and resurrect old, forgotten or neglected regional recipes. Every time I go, I find and meet with a new dish. It is also very reasonably priced.
Photo source: c/o Rumisu; featuring Rocket Man, Come Out of Your Closet, No Boundaries, Come Out of Your Closet, My Deformed Demon of Geometry (FW 2015-16), Fishing Flock, Mayday, Lady Jade, Monster Selfie (FW 2015-16),