Contributing Monkie Julia Ocean
Published on April 20, 2010
The mission of BOA Studio is “to provide eco-friendly and aesthetically-wise designs that will truly become a part of your life”. This was my introduction to the green fashion brand coming out of Istanbul of all places. I don’t know about you, but the name Istanbul pulls up childhood images of adventures with our beloved Michael Palin. In his very English way heading out to exotic locations around the world, to visit the natives. Well, could he have imagined Istanbul, a place seeming so ancient, would be home to the highly creative and inspiring green fashion duo, Sena and Seray.
Sena Çevik and Seray Cengiz had a dream called Boa. More than another fashion brand, a company who’s focus is to inspire you to live green through fashion.
Julia: How did you choose to become a designer and how did you start your career? Why G/Fashion?
Seray: Boa Studio is actually formed by a graphic designer and a design manager. Neither of us had fashion design backgrounds. The idea behind Boa was to create eco-friendly pieces that would become a part of our everyday lives. What we put on at home, outside or even when we go to bed defines how we live. Our bodies are in full contact with several kinds of fabric everyday. Why not prefer to create your designs with such a fabric that is responsible to the ecology as well as your body? Boa is the result of a one full night’s talk at home, thinking how we can collaborate our experience and ideas and how we can do it responsibly.
Julia: What was your experience in the fashion industry before forming your own company?
Seray: Sena has worked on graphic designs for some other fashion brands and I had some minor experience on textile and fabrics. A very good friend directed us with her fashion design background. It was decided to design everything as simple, but as wise as possible. We really knew what we wanted, so it was kind of an on the job training for us.
Julia: Do you think green fashion has a chance with a main stream world audience?
Seray: It definetely should have a chance. We will see the positive effects as more people become aware. Currently, comparitavely high prices are limiting. We think it is also up to us, new brands, to stay focused and make it possible to reach more people.
Julia: Who are your favorite designers and why?
Seray: Nature and it’s creator. :) Hussein Chalayan and DiceKayek are our role models from here.Hussein Chalayan for systems and DiceKayek for elegance.
Julia: So far, what has been good about taking this path and has anything turned out to be more difficult that you expected?
Seray: We are proud to be the first design studio in Turkey to focus 100% on eco-friendly products. Combining this value with graphic-fashion is what made Boa unique. Green design is also a very uniting concept internationally. We just started to bond and communicate with people who has been working in this field and it really helps and inspires us a lot. We are looking forward to other labels that might emerge in our country so that we can do something together here.
We don’t want to just stay in Turkey though, we want to send our designs to other countries as soon as possible. The rather difficult part is to find the right city, place, store for Boa internationally. We feel excited for any kind of collaboration with international stores and labels.
Julia: How do you think the state of the economy will effect the green movement and green sales in general?
Seray: We think that people are becoming more concious everyday about where they live and how they live. The limitations of our current life standards push us to reconsider how we manage our lives. This fact will have a positive effect on people’s approach to green movement. Therefore it is most likely that the market will continue growing.
Julia: How import are the fabrics and what types of fabrics or materials are you interested in?
Seray: The softness and the delicate feel of the fabric is crucial for us. Currently, we use 100% organic cotton in all our products with the necessary certification. Even though we use colored fabrics in our collection, it is the washed only, natural color fabric we use the most. The prints on the designs are made with paint suitable for organic cotton as well. We are working on using other eco-friendly fabrics in the future and we are always looking for any kind of progress on the softness of our products.
By the way, we just started to re-use the left overs of our production to make soft toys. We are handing the fabrics to our friends and let them improvise!
Julia: How important is the price point for you?
Seray: We want Boa to be reachable for as more people as possible. Our pieces are unique, produced in a special atelier and hand printed. The term “design” seems to be a justification for extreme prices, but we don’t feel this wasy. It all makes sense when people constantly touch, feel and use your designs. Boa aims to preserve a price as reasonable as possible, while being able to continue creating specially produced products.
Julia: What type of person is your customer, what are they looking for?
Seray: They are usually people looking for new and unique designs which they can wear comfortably every day. We hear that they wear Boa when they go out, at home and even as they are sleeping. The designs do not necessarily fit for a time or occasion. Eco-concious people are paying special attention for sure. We think we are one of the labels who broke the prejudiced idea of “green fashion is usually boring”.
Julia: Starting a new fashion brand or any small company is a challenge. Where do you see Boa going?
Seray: We are looking forward to working with new illustrators or fashion designers. Idea behind Boa also included presenting new designers each season. We are currently brainstorming with some designer friends on how they can interpret Boa with their own designs, ofcourse sticking with the label’s own concept.
Julia: Both of you obviously are green girls, but how “G” or green are your personal lives?
Seray: Our personal lives are colorful. It is full of vegetables and fruits.I guess this is one of the good things about Turkey. Recycling and re-use are becoming more and more crucial, our families and we are pushing eveyone around us about the importance of such actions.
Julia: What does a good time look like for you? What makes you laugh?
Seray: Toys, friends, family, the sea, good food, good music…
Julia: BOA is based in Istanbul, which sounds amazing, but do you ever get out and travel? What are your favorite places?
Seray: Istanbul is pretty amazing actually and the cultural mix in the city has been the subject of our winter 09 collection. When the city becomes tiring and hectic, west coast of Turkey is a great escape for us. There are plenty of small villages you can stop by and enjoy the sea and great food. The nature is the best refreshment.
Julia: What is coming up next for Boa?
Seray: We will be visiting Bread and Butter Berlin in July and we are currently looking for international buyers, we hope to be available outside Turkey shortly. By the way, we have our baby Boa line on the way! We just had twin nephews joining our family. They have been a great inspiration!
Checkout the latest collection from Boa Studios on their website at boastudio.org. A little warning about the site, it is a little slow loading, give the tree time to load.