News & Runway

Pinar Eris, Designer: A tFS Exclusive Interview

Pinar Eris has a unique way with fabric. Her designs are all about edgy femininity, and standing out.

The clothing is ladylike – but with rock star touches. She has a Victorian flair for shaping the body, and following the line of the feminine form.

In 2007 she scored a hit when singer Imogen Heap wore one of her dresses to the Grammy’s and set off a firestorm of press, with the dress being hotly debated all over the fashion world.

The Fashion Spot caught up with the Turkish designer at home in Los Angeles for an exclusive interview, and a sneak peek at her latest collection.

The Fashion Spot:  How did you get started as a designer?

Pinar Eris: It was my childhood dream to be a fashion designer. But I didn’t have a chance to make it real until I was 25. After moving to the U.S. from Turkey, I studied Fine Arts and Fashion Design. 

I worked for a fashion company for 3 years after I graduated, but it was more the business side of the fashion industry.  It was a very good experience for me in terms of learning how things work in U.S. Meanwhile, I continued working on my own designs.  I launched my first collection in 2005, and since then I have been creating one to two collections a year.

tFS:  I love the crazy edginess of your clothing. What are some of your inspirations?

PE: Thank you! To be honest, I see my inspirations after I am done with the collections. Looks like different styles inspires me.

Gothic, Victorian, punk, and rocker looks are the most significant ones. I like the dark essence of Gothic, and feminine look of Victorian times but I also like the wild side of punk and rock looks. So I like to combine all of these with an elegant look.  I love working with colors, different textured fabrics, and combining different prints.

tFS:  I remember that dress that you made for Imogen Heap in 2007. That dress got a lot of press, didn’t it? How did that affect your business?

PE:  It got lots of press. Some people loved it, and some people hate the dress. Some people didn’t get it at all. But her fans knew about me. Since I wasn’t a well known designer, they didn’t get my name when she mentioned it. They said, ‘one of her fans designed for her’ in the press.

tFS:  What’s the latest collection for you?

PE:  My latest collection is ” Electrogeisha”. Photographer Akif Hakan Celebi came out with the name for the collection after we did the shoot in Istanbul, and it fit perfectly.

This time I went to back colors that I love: black, pink and white. They are all still playful, feminine designs, and the first time I’ve used faux stretch embroidered leathers.  I loved working with it!

tFS:  I notice that you work a lot with photographer Akif Hakan Celebi. How did you two hook up?

PE: By chance, we met online on one of the portfolio sites. He was going to Japan and he stopped by in L.A. to shoot. The pictures came out amazing!!

So we decided to shoot another set, a couple months later. Since then, I work with him about once in a year.  I feel very lucky to know him. I always wanted to create something that was artsy for my collections, and his and my work mesh perfectly. We never work with a particular concept, we just go with the flow, and we inspire each other along the way.

tFS:  You were just in Harper’s Baazar (Turkey edition) in March. How did they find you?

PE: They were looking for designers who are Turkish and live outside of the country. Looks like I was a perfect match! They contacted me through my PR in Turkey.

tFS:  What are your goals for the future? Any big plans?

PE: My goals are always, create, create, create, and of course to reach more people with my designs who are looking for unique, edgy, feminine clothing for their wardrobe.

I have been reaching customers mostly though my web site. However, one of my goals is placing my designs in boutiques in NY and London, because most of my customers live in those places – and also in Japan.

Pinar’s  clothes are handmade upon special order, and available at SmashingDarling and Pinar Eris.

Photos by Akif Hakan Celebi, courtesy of Pinar Eris.