Numan Ataker, starting his journey in 2012 with the brand JOHN PAUL ATAKER, carrying his son’s name, has well managed to transmit his sales network that started with New York; to Panama, Mexico, Brazil, Trinidad Tobago, Dominican Republic, Canada, Belgium, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Dressing up world renowned names, Ataker is offering his collections, which is inspired by cultural richness of Turkey to the world fashion in his designs. The inspiration of John Paul Ataker’s SS 2018 Collection is generated from the Black Sea Region. The colours that are reflected in the foreground of the collection, projecting the preferences of local clothing are white, ivory and black. With this collection, Ataker calls on the rest of the world to choose slow fashion flow.
You are recognized worldwide with your John Paul Ataker brand. How did your fashion adventure begin? Would you like to talk a little bit about yourself and your brand?
In 1977, I started to work in garment industry in Asmalımescit around Beyoğlu, which led to opening an Atelier run by me and my family in 1985. 5 years later (1990) I decided to leave the atelier and started to selling wholesale garment accessories, linings and interfacings. Afterwards I built up my own wholesale fabric company which is still running until today. In 2012, my fashion journey has started with the label JOHN PAUL ATAKER that carries my son’s name.
We have been working in the American wholesale marketplace for 4 years. Our sales network started with our showroom in New York. After that, year by year it expanded to Panama, Mexico, Brazil, Trinidad Tobago, Dominican Republic, Canada, Belgium, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
In addition to these, our garments can be found in Abdi İpekçi Street, Istanbul at our flagship store which opened this year. We also launched another flagship store this October on Madison Avenue in New York City.
Are there any companies that you provide fabric supply from Turkey? According to which elements do you determine your fabric and colour choices?
As my wholesale fabric company carries on, I supply 100 % locally produced fabrics. Using my company to supply fabrics is a big opportunity for my label and important to show how much Turkey has to offer to fashion world. Concept and story of the collection inspires me to determine fabrics and colours.
Do domestic and foreign fashion preferences change?
It does. In domestic market, customers prefer to wear embroideries, chiffon, sequins, and shiny fabrics and hand beaded dresses, on the other hand in foreign markets women prefer more structured, tailored and simple dresses.
You dressed up many world famous celebrities. Do you mind to reveal us several names?
Throughout our label career we have dressed up many celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Tiffany Trump, Marla Maples, Kara McCullough, Gwen Stefani and Kelly Osbourne, Eva Langoria, Olivia Culpo, Isabela Moner, Dayana Mendoza, Victoria Justice and more.
You create ethnic lines inspired by the cultural richness in Turkey in your designs. How do you interpret the design line of Numan Ataker?
JOHN PAUL ATAKER designs stand for detailed and modern shapes, sophisticated and high-quality tailoring, luxurious fabrics, unique silhouettes, precise cuts and draping of the women’s body. My interpretation of modern women inspires me to create my design line. John Paul Ataker women are modern, feminine, strong, stand on their own feet and question life. In our design line I mix up cultural inspiration with modern tailored silhouettes. As fashion world follows up fashion week very closely, we are very proud and highly enjoy being a narrative of JPA fashion and the cultural richness of our country.
You do not only reflect ethnically detailed designs in your podium, but at the same time you try to offer a cultural show in its entirety. What elements constituted the main theme of your last collection? What kind of Numan Ataker woman we are going to see in your SS 2018 collection?
For millions of years, The Black Sea Region of Turkey has been a geo-ecological zone of deep blue waters and green fertile lands and is now the inspiration for the vibrant Spring/Summer 2018 collection. The line carries the cultural gusto and stamina of the wicker quilt art of fishermen, fishing and sailing ropes, and authentic wrung bracelets of the silversmiths of Trebizond, the vernacular knitting and weaving artisanship and ethnic Kazaz silver knot art. This season’s collection is based on the rich cultural heritage and folklore of this region. Authentic and traditional assets are incorporated into our signature gowns and separates daily and formal wear. Inspired by native and traditional garments of the people, “cepken” (bolero jackets), shalwar (baggy pants), peshtemal (loincloth), and waistcoats have been modified for the collection in a range of fabrics spanning from cotton to linen, organza to jacquard and viscose finalized by hand sewn needlework. The colour palette this season has a large emphasis on unbleached fabrics and is predominantly white, ivory and black.
The region is known for its beautiful seacoasts, mountainous terrain and picturesque valleys of thick, green foliage. It boasts high, fresh aired rich plateaus and is home for industrious and innovative people who live by a rewarding but stubborn, oftentimes skittish and rough sea, with fruitful orchards and groves. Hardworking, plain living farmers toil hard but live healthy and long lives in the bosom of Mother Nature. The Black Sea has become a bearer of what we call “slow fashion”, which means being purposeful and realizing that fewer is better and healthier both for humankind and our planet. The world is at the helm of an unreasonable and fatal grip of what is becoming a faster and faster consuming and vicious cycle. In line with “slow fashion” principles, all of the materials and dyes have been chosen to be as environmentally and ecologically friendly as possible with a focus on human health and wellness not only with the end products and wearer in our mind, but throughout the production process as well. I’d be more than happy to see other parts of the world also join “slow fashion” for a better tomorrow.
You have become one of the Turkish Fashioners who showed up in the main fashion parade of New York Fashion Week. What do you think is foreseeable for your future brand’s agenda?
In future, we are planning to open 10 more shops in different countries after settling down on Madison Avenue. We also plan to expand our gowns with a bag collection for next seasons. We try to maintain our signature style combined with modern silhouettes and are looking forward to next season as each is very different and unique. Also we are working on John Paul Ataker Online shop. Through this website, we will reach our worldwide customers more easily. We suggest our customers to follow us very closely because we have new surprises for New Year.
Podium, background musics, accessories and model selection … How do you designate such elements that will truly reflect the soul of your collection?
When I start preparing a collection, I listen to background music for 5-6 months. During this process, I select the music that suits the concept of the collection the best. Music plays a big role in trying to convey the idea of a collection and is also a beautiful way to give runway show the perfect mood. Meanwhile, the collection start to shaping up, accessory ideas are shaping as well. In last two collection we use our fabric and accessories to create unique shoes for our runway show. In the end, all these beautiful elements are coming together on runway show and creates John Paul Ataker line.