Koral Sagular is a 21 year-old designer from Istanbul, in his third year of studying Fashion Design at Bilgi University. Sagular already has a very unique and visually potent aesthetic, mixing classical influences with BDSM and playful slogans. Sagular himself is a fascinating character, resembling a figure in a Renaissance painting and seemingly living a life of splendour and debauchery that befits his Baroque tastes.
What are the benefits of being based in Istanbul? Do you find it useful to be outside the circus of the main fashion capitals?
Istanbul is a huge cosmopolitan city to live in. The ethnic roots of Turkish culture play an important role in my inspiration, they feed me. Especially the more traditional parts of the city where I can observe my favourite styles, such as the ‘Turkish macho’. Having the opportunity to see examples of Ottoman embroidery and beading whenever I want is also a good thing because handiwork is the main aspect of my designs. That’s the useful thing about living in Istanbul. On the other hand, the fashion here isn’t very developed. The general perspective is built around making products that will sell, so designers often end up imitating each other and it’s hard to make something original or avant-garde; there are positive and negative aspects to being here.
“The collection is like a mirror of me”
Your work has a very baroque sensibility, combined with elements of modern fetish and slogans. Do you think fashion has replaced portraiture as our mirror to culture?
I definitely think that’s true. My AW16 collection was inspired by ‘Egungun Ceremony’ robes, but at the same time it was also about some very personal experiences and thoughts from my past. The collection is like a mirror of me; it reflects aggressive and erotic ideas using fabrics, crystals, antique objects. To me, fashion is a seductive medium through which I express myself, day by day.
Do you design with a particular kind of person or lifestyle in mind?
I would say I do design for a particular kind of person, because fashion, for me, has never just been about getting inspired by a subject and then making some clothes. I avoid that simplistic mentality. Actually, fashion has always seemed to me like a conceptual game which allows me to create characters. Through the process of creating my collections, I work on the characters but keep going back to my research and improving these imaginary people before they come to life.
“Polaroids turn moments into tangible objects.”
What are your aspirations for your brand and for you as a designer?
I have many ideas on my mind for the period after my graduate collection. I am planning to work on couture pieces, like my last AW16 capsule collection and I would also like to move to London, to collaborate with people that I know will be good for my career.
What is it about Polaroids that appeals to you so much as a medium?
During the years when I was first encountering photography, I started using analog cameras and realised that I found them very satisfying compared to digital – I’m not the kind of person who adores digital. Afterwards, I did something I had wanted to do for years: I bought a Polaroid camera. It gave me a chance to experiment with things and showed me where I could go with my photography. I think the most significant thing about Polaroid is the sense of being able to touch what you just took. Polaroids turn moments into tangible objects.