The sparkles that provide that final touch we need while creating our style usually come from jewelry and jewellery. These accessories, which we carry happily as a reflection of our soul or as a strong expression, often contain a story, a memory or the emotion we expect to make us feel. Sometimes this is a traditional earring similar to our grandmother’s, sometimes it is an assertive piece with its sculptural stance. We talk to Fatoş Altınbaş, the founder and creative director of Mevaris, which presents the harmony of the past and the present.
First of all, can you tell us a little about yourself and your brand Mevaris, how did this journey begin?
The Mevaris brand, of which I am the founder and creative director, was born as a result of my long years of work and academic research in the Grand Bazaar. The first collection of Mevaris, the jewels that emerged with the artistic and symbolic reflection of the Grand Bazaar’s 550-year cultural heritage heritageand then the brand continued its journey abroad and domestically.
Mevaris means ‘Heritage’ in old Ottoman Turkish. The reason why I chose this name is hidden in the sense that I attribute to the Grand Bazaar. My brand reflects the cultural and artistic heritage I received from my family and the Grand Bazaar. One of the motivations that strengthened the formation of Mevaris is my desire to present Mevaris jewellery, which combines craftsmanship with technology, on a worldwide platform. For this reason, I wrote Stones of the Grand Bazaar my book was published by the Italian publishing house Rizzoli and put on sale all over the world.
Besides my business life, I work as a doctor lecturer and advisor to the chairman of the board of trustees at Altınbaş University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Jewelry culture has changed a lot in recent years and designs have evolved from classic looks to adapt to everyday style. How do your collections that combine tradition and modernity take shape?
At Mevaris, we take care that our collections reflect the heritage of jewelery culture from the Ottoman Empire to the present, from the Grand Bazaar, while at the same time being modern designs. Jewels are objects that are independent of fashion, derive their value from the meaning you assign to them, and contain spirituality apart from their material value. We adapt our designs to the present and the future with inspiration from the past, and move forward with modern steps. We create special products using precious stones such as rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds and diamonds. We combine these stones with today’s design concept and modernize them.
This season, we also see colorful accessories that take their energy from summer. How did this collection, which includes neon colors and strong forms, take shape?
After the pandemic we experienced in 2020, the way to overcome the feeling of depression that came with the pessimism, unhappiness, sadness caused by losses, and unhappiness caused by restrictions was to be inspired by nature. We have reflected the most beautiful colors of nature on our jewellery. We wanted to draw attention to the happiness that colorful new beginnings will bring to our lives by bringing together the new moon motif, which symbolizes new beginnings and the symbol of the Mevaris brand.
Your pleasant cooperation with Gülcan Arslan continues. How did you come together?
Gülcan Arslan was a name that I was very impressed with her energy and aura, but also admired her grace and natural beauty. When the feelings of hope, joy of life, energy, joy and happiness that we wanted to reflect with Mevaris’s colorful jewelery collection combined with Gülcan’s natural beauty, a great energy was born.
Are there any projects that you plan to realize in the near future?
Jewellery is a different industry as it is timeless and very valuable. Our aim is to announce the Turkish jewelery art to the world internationally. In this way, we evaluate every idea.
Branding in jewelry has become very important. People want to trust the quality of the jewelry they buy, to know where the stones come from, and to believe in their designs. For this reason, designer jewelery of brands is also popular. Jewelery brands are more established in Europe. My goal is to launch a jewelry brand in Turkey. We are working hard for this.
Now, jewelry determines a style on its own. Very strong designs were attracting attention during fashion weeks. Where are the jewelry trends going?
Jewelry trends are shaped in parallel with fashion. In addition, since jewels are the items we carry and give meaning to, they are also objects that we use in line with our personal needs. Therefore, timeless styles are more dominant in the sector.
So, how is Turkey, which has unique artifacts in its roots, in terms of jewellery?
While Turkey is the second largest jewelery producer in the world after Italy, it is unfortunately far behind in the design and branding process. The 550-year-old tradition of jewelery craftsmanship, which has been carried on from generation to generation by valuable masters in the Grand Bazaar since 1461, is about to become history, in the words of the masters.
Stones of the Grand Bazaar In your book, you describe the transfer of our traditional heritage to generations. Your family history is one of the important building blocks here. How did the idea and process of the book go?
Handmade Jewelery Masters in the Grand Bazaar, A Transformation Story My research book, which was the building block of my academic career and enabled me to get my PhD. Afterwards, I developed and published in English. Stones of the Grandbazaar With my book, I aimed to pay homage to the jewelery masters of the Grand Bazaar tradition, on the other hand, to draw attention to the world of the Grand Bazaar that has never lost its value and to be able to tell it to new generations, and most importantly, to share the historical importance of the Grand Bazaar on international platforms.
In my first book, I introduce these masters, who are the last representatives of our cultural wealth, trying to perform their art in the sector that has changed as a result of the changes in the mechanization, information systems and design habits that have developed even more rapidly in the last quarter of the 20th century and in the 21st century. and their struggle against globalization. This project was shaped by a two-year fieldwork.
Do you have any advice for young women in the business world?
Unfortunately, women and children suffer the most in our world where we live and where living conditions are getting harder and harder. We must be aware of the discriminations we face and continue to demand our rights such as equal work, life and freedom, not just on March 8th, but every day. The fact that there is a male-dominated order in many sectors in business life should not deter women. I think it should be indispensable for personal development as it is for business life, to find what you love to do, to improve yourself in this regard, to continue learning non-stop, starting from your school days or the moment you decide to start your business life. Working hard, creating by working, not giving up, not leaving the job I started unfinished are the features that I find useful. Being productive is also very important for personal happiness.
We are also curious about your inspiration points.
My sources of inspiration differ according to my collections. In the first collection, I was inspired by the past, the art of jewelery in history and the historical texture of the Grand Bazaar; Then, together with the Modern Collection, the modern structures of Istanbul, the unique views of the Bosphorus, and the seagulls became our inspiration. The symbol of the new moon, as the oldest symbol of Istanbul and symbolizing renewal and rebirth, has a special place in my story and is our icon design. Creativity is also about the momentary state of mind of a person. Therefore, it is not fixed, but variable and flowing…
Our new collection is inspired by the rebirth of the new moon symbol, which symbolizes new beginnings, with colors. It aims to open a colorful window to the dark times we have been through, especially in the last 3 years, to illuminate our souls, to use the power of colors and to remember the beauties of life, to return to nature and to symbolize healing by using the magic of colors.
Finally, what are the timeless pieces that every woman should have?
Jewelry is the ornament of the body, the tool of beauty. The right outfit, when complemented with the right jewellery, adds even more beauty to a woman. A waterway diamond necklace, a ring of diamonds, and jewelry with evil eye beads are timeless pieces.
TAGS: FATOŞ ALTINBAŞ , GÜLVAN ARSLAN , MEVARIS , GRAND BAZAAR , JEWELRY