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Istanbul has been in the Western media throughout 2016 as a result of political unrest in the country. Yet during these uncertain times, a concept store in Istanbul has launched to promote and celebrate Turkish creativity and design. Culture Trip catches up with the founders of Sanayi 313, Creative Director, Enis Karavil and Serena Uziyel, Brand Director, about putting innovation in Istanbul on the global stage.
The idea of the Sanayi 313 was born from a shared vision to create the type of concept that would excite people by offering art, fashion and food in one space. Enis was working in London as an interior designer after graduating from the Inchbold Design Institute and Serena was working in Spain as womenswear designer for Zara after she had studied at Parsons in New York. We were both looking to move back to Istanbul, and decided to collaborate on a creative platform for bringing like-minded people together.
We see Sanayi 313 as a platform showcase of the things we are both truly passionate about. We converted a former garage building into a space that would serve partly as a store for the footwear and accessories collection, the limited-edition furniture range and as a design atelier for our architecture and interior projects. We also have a restaurant downstairs that is open for breakfast and lunch daily. This variety allows us to constantly collaborate with contemporary designers and artists and to host exhibitions and events. This evolving and continually changing showcase aims to offer our customers something that is fresh and interesting. Our location in the Oto Sanayi district, which is an area full of car repair shops, also makes us a destination in that our customers really have to seek us out.
We are both looking to create and offer products that are individual, of the highest quality and distinguished by fine craftsmanship. This idea translates to all of our products. The interior and architecture projects the design atelier has recently completed in London, Istanbul, Dubai and the South of France, help to further establish our reputation locally and internationally as unique brand.
Istanbul has an amazing design legacy, with exceptional artisans working today who are highly skilled in textiles, leatherwork and weaving. Our belief at Sanayi 313 is that we are as much a local as an international brand, and by collaborating with some of the highly skilled craftsman here we can bring to the forefront some of these artisanal techniques. The footwear, for example, is produced in Italy whilst all the embroidery is done in Turkey.
It’s a combination of both. We are trying to encourage people to visit the store even if it’s just to have a coffee, see our latest artistic collaborations or browse through some of the vintage books we collect during our travels. The immense success of footwear collection, which now sells in stores around the world, has helped to establish a loyal following of customers and we have a lot of enquiries from people who have heard about the store and are interested in seeing the amalgamation of these ideas.
A sense of the eclectic individuality and true craftsmanship defines of the collection, and we think that our success can be put down to the collection being a labour of love where each pair of shoes is an artwork in itself. The fact that that each pair of shoes takes so long to produce means that we are limited in the volume we can create. We think that people are growing tired of luxury brands who produce thousands of pairs of the same shoe, and are now seeking out brands which are extensions of self expression.
It would depend on the time of year, but the terrace of the Bebek Hotel has great cocktails and has a spectacular view of the Bosphorus. Lucca, which is just across the street, is another favorite and has fun lively atmosphere whose crowds spill out onto the street. We are spoilt for choice for food with some amazing restaurants in Istanbul. A fish and raki (anise-flavoured drink) is a quintessential Istanbul dining experience so would recommend dinner at Kiyi restaurant in Tarabya, which has delicious selection of meze dishes and serves seasonal varieties of fish.
Check out our favourite slippers below, and shop the collection here.
Sanayi 313, Opening hours are between 8:00 – 18:00 on weekdays and 10:00 – 18:00 on Saturdays.