Thursday, June 11, 2009


Posted by: BANANÉ

Banané Magazine is truly proud to feature Emel Kurhan, one of Istanbul’s most inspirational icons. The owner of an incredibly extensive portfolio, Emel has designed for the likes of Ford, Mudo, Mavi Jeans, Blumarine, Anna Molinari, Hotiç, Swarovski, Coca-Cola, Martine Sitbon, Absolut Vodka, Lancel and Adidas. Since the year 2000, Emel has been designing accessories with her sister Yaz, under the brand they founded together, Yazbukey. Their designs are playful and pleasantly surprising, inspired by old musicals, tales and movies. We love them! Björk has been wearing Yazbukey accessories since they first started, along with other top celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Selma Blair, Courtney Love, Mick Jagger, Yelle, Kylie Minogue and Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode who have also worn their designs. We caught up with Emel herself to learn more about this outstanding designer and the wonderful world of Yazbukey.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your professional activities?
Hello my name is Emel. I live in istanbul with my dog Kumpir. I’m a 31 year old story teller. I do different activities, one of them is accessory design. I have a label with my sister Yaz, it’s called Yazbukey. We design all type of accessories (everything that isn’t clothing becomes accessories), I write for Elle and Radikal, I travel, I teach every winter in Reykjavik and Bilgi University and I work on multidisciplinary projects.

Did you grow up in Turkey? Did this influence your design vision?
I grew up in several countries (Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Holland), then I lived in Turkey, and then I moved to Paris. I have always been close to diversity and discovering new things. Being curious it helped me and that helps a lot with my creative work.

On your path to starting, were there any major challenges in the beginning?
My major challenge was funding and still is!

What do you like most about your job?
It’s all about dreaming.

Can you tell us about your process? Do you start with materials or a drawing? How do you go from inspiration to finished piece?
First of all, I work alone, even when it’s about our label. We separate and do our research on our own. I start by doing research(material, idea), I go to flea markets, museums, walk around, take time to dream… Sometimes travel and start picking things up just instinctively. I clarify my ideas but I always work with my instincts. Then starts sketching and prototype production.

What inspires you?
Love, friends, art, cinema, music, museums, books, traveling, Paris, surprises, TV, daydreaming…

Favorite designers, places, stores, people, things that are informative to your creative vision?
I admire the work of Elsa Schiaparelli. I buy the magazine “The World of Interiors” every month, I love to travel. I love flea markets -Puces de Clignancourt and Montreuil in Paris, Çukurcuma in Istanbul, also all kinds of antique shops. My favourite shops 20/20 in Paris, Artnuptia, Tokyu Hands in Tokyo, Frieda Franke in Reykjavik. I love objects, especially porcelain. Paris and Tokyo are super inspiring.

Where do you have your designs made?

Why don’t you have a shop in Istanbul?
Soon darling soon! God willing…

How do you measure your success?
Self satisfaction.

What are you working on now? Do you have any new projects?
I’m working on a series of t-shirt prints, I work on my blogs: one is about my work ( and the other one about food ( I have many projects going on, right now I’m working on my Istanbul guide, hopefully it will be published very soon. I’m preparing a solo exhibition for the end of 2010, I’m also working with a French confectioner for 2010 St Valentine’s day and I will also start my new radio show in September.

Do you listen to music while you work? What kind?
Yes! I love classical music, listen to a lot of Bill Evans and Debussy lately. Also a lot of oldies but goldies, sometimes hip hop, let’s say a little bit of everything. Occasionally I like silence too, it depends on my mood.

Last book you read?
William Dalrymple’s “From the Holy Mountain”.

Last movie you watched?
$9,99 by Tatia Rosenthal.

What’s your best quality?

What about your worst?
Forgetful of my words.

What are you most proud of?
Lovely Kumpir (my Chihuahua-Pinscher).




















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