Fashion has been in the heart and mind of Ümit Ünal from an early age. Born in Istanbul, Turkey, he grew up observing and working in his family’s atelier. He later refined his style, process and influences through his fashion, archaeology and art history education. Ünal designs freely, and while inspired by his past, he creates for the future. Unconcerned with trends cycling through the fashion industry, he instead considers silhouettes of the everyday.

Ümit began his own label in 1992 in Istanbul, where he continues to create darkly romantic, rebellious and artful collections with an small team of family and talented artisans. He continuously explores big concepts while achieving results that are both casual and intellectual. Natural fabrics are dyed in his signature monochromatic palette, along with bountiful detailed handiwork including stitching around the pockets and lapels and the intentional, textural crumpling of fabrics.

Istanbul provides a wealth of inspiration for Ümit Ünal’s collections. A silk shirt can be sophisticated enough to wear formally under the right jacket, yet the hidden frayed edges come to light when worn over jeans. The same shirt can reference both Anatolian folk art and the edginess of European design. With an emphasis on techniques done by hand, such as embroidery, hand stitching and overdyeing, there is an additional layer of rich sophistication added to his fluid and often monochromatic collections. Ümit—like his city—bridges cultures, styles, and function, filtering his observations of the world through his collections, in a persistent search for sincerity and the ultimate goal of universality.