Google the multi-faceted career of Ilkin Kurt and you will see that she has worked as a stylist, fashion editor, creative director, brand consultant and buyer for different companies and publishers around the world. You will also see that she is photographed in a series of editorials about her style, her beauty routine, her home interior. But she is also a dream capture for a street-style photographer because of the complete ease with how she puts a look together. If I had to use a word to describe Ilkin it would be insouciant – meaning carefree and nonchalant – and that is why, when she slips into her hand picked selection of Lee Mathews clothes, she makes them wholly her own.
LM Woman #37 / Ilkin Kurt
Were you a stylish child? What shaped your early aesthetic?
I come from an artisan family where most family members were into beauty at some sort of level. Probably that environment has shaped my aesthetic on pretty much everything. Fashion wise I was always into my parents and grandparents’ clothing. I was obsessed with dad and grandpa’s shirts, mom’s jeans from 70’s or 80’s and grandmother’s silk shirts and blouses. I still own some of those pieces.
"It is also important for me where a brand sources their materials, what they're made from and how sustainable their production process is."
What has being a professional buyer taught you about selecting clothes for yourself?
It is always the fabrication I care most about. It is also important for me where a brand sources their materials, what they're made from and how sustainable their production process is. I never let myself get caught by fashion trends even though it is part of my job. I use that side of my job as a great reminder to invest in classic or unique pieces.
You look incredibly at ease in what you are wearing - is ease the answer to everyday style?
Comfort is the key. You can wear an amazing piece but if you are not comfortable in it, that piece won’t shine as it should.
What matters to you when choosing a new piece? Is it instinctive or rational?
It can be both. I have been very careful with my purchases for the last few years and probably I have only two things on my mind when I do shopping: is this a need, a replacement, refreshing piece or is it a collectable purchase? So, it really depends on the item.
How important is fabric to you?
Really important. I don’t know how many times I had to leave a garment on the shelf just because of the fabric combinations.
What drew you to these particular pieces?
Most of these pieces are easy to interpret into your daily life. Beautifully made, great fabrics and shapes. You put them on and you don’t need to think about how you look as they make you feel ritzy. A bomber jacket is always a great way to balance a boyish/feminine look, you can’t go wrong with a trench coat which to me is a wardrobe essential and dresses are great for special occasions.
Clothes create personas - did you feel a shift when you wore the white Sara Long Sleeve Wrap Dress?
They most definitely do. To be honest the white dress made me feel like I was in a modern Anna Karenina book.
How do you think the experience of Covid 19 will effect our attitude to clothes?
I hope that consumers will start to ask the right questions of themselves before purchasing every single item and I really hope that those questions will trigger big fashion houses and chains to take some responsibility and try to produce less, pay fairly, and think about the future of their employees. Garment workers are some of the most marginalized, unprotected people on earth. Hopefully, we will be hitting the reset button on sustainable production and resale.
What advice do you have for how we can be more sustainable in our approach to clothing?
Investing in trans-seasonal clothes would help to buy less (go for quality over quantity) and donating your unwanted clothes would help to circular economy. Vintage clothing has a huge role to play in making fashion more sustainable and reducing a global footprint. Consider using rental platforms instead of buying new every time.
Give us your one best tip for dressing well?
My grandmother used to say ‘find a good tailor to alter things for your body shape’ which is a good tip. I guess my answer would be be aware of your advantages and disadvantages within your body and dress accordingly. And please only show the right amount of skin.