"Developing washes and distresses requires craftsmanship," explains Hannah Berne-Lehtola, who is a denim designer and expert on jeans washes. "In Turkey, skilled denim designers are highly respected and in our factories, we notice how important these individuals are to the company. It's not about having the best education either because knowledge also accumulates in your hands – i.e. when you know what to do to get a certain result and when you have a feel for denim."
Several reputable denim factories are located in Istanbul and it is quite noticeable on the city's streets how trendy denim-loving Turks adopt the latest, most popular trends. It goes without saying that Istanbul is a great city for outdoor cafés and hangouts. Fashion is taken very seriously here as well.
"Each person involved takes great pride in the craftsmanship that they bring to their part of denim manufacturing, such as washes or special distresses. For us, as a fashion company, it is very important that we cooperate closely with the suppliers and the only way to do that is by being there, where it all happens. I often visit the factories and help create washes and distresses side-by-side with the 'denim kings' as I like to call them. They rock!"
But isn't it unnecessary, putting so much time and energy into distresses, for example?
"No, I don't think so at all. Quite the opposite really because the distresses and washes are what creates the product. The words are a bit misleading, too, because most of the time we're not trying to get a look of actual wear and tear. Instead, we're trying to tell a story by adding interesting, attractive details. Most important of all is having enthusiasm! When we work out the details in the factory, body language is usually the deciding factor. You have to show that something is good and you really like it! We typically have a language barrier to overcome. I've managed to learn a few Turkish words that have to do with jeans and washes, colours and such. Otherwise, we depend on body language and pictures. Sometimes I even take a pen and draw the idea I'm trying to convey – directly on the garment!"