Umit Unal: Bridging Style, Culture and Function

Istanbul, home to clothing designer Ümit Ünal, is many things including the city of bridges. The city is split into 3 zones connected by Galata and Atatürk bridges, as well as three of the world’s longest suspension bridges: Bosporus I, Bosporus II, and Bosporus III — all spanning over 3,000 feet. Istanbul is also the geographic bridge between Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Culturally, it is the world’s fifth most popular tourist destination, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a world-recognized center for entertainment.

It’s no surprise that in this cultural hotspot, Ümit Ünal finds a wealth of inspiration for a collection that reflects a duality in design. 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.