Afffair, the rising Turkish fashion house, recently took over the Milano Uomo Fashion Week 2015 by storm and has already set plans in motion to open a boutique in Dubai. In March, the fashion house
Afffair, the rising Turkish fashion house, recently took over the Milano Uomo Fashion Week 2015 by storm and has already set plans in motion to open a boutique in Dubai. In March, the fashion house is set to host a spectacular VIP Fashion Show in Dubai and will open the Mercedes-Benz Istanbul Fashion Week in Turkey, which are major milestones for the new Turkish menswear brand. Founded by the Azerbaijani Rufat Ismayil – former top model and garment producer, and Ali Behnam Bakhtiar – a designer who started his career in Paris developing creative projects for top couture houses. We’ve sat down with Ali Bakhtiar to find out more about this intriguing menswear label.
What is the story of Afffair?
Well, I created Afffair about six months ago with my business partner Rufat, and we wanted to create a line that carries a variety, such as sportswear to formal wear, as well as casual. Basically you can go to one store and find everything that is trendy and classic too.
Normally you would need to go to five-six different stores before getting what you want. So we wanted to create a line for men that you can go and get your tuxedo or a trunk suit, while it is something different and unique and is of very high quality.
Why did you decide to open in Dubai as a next step?
Dubai is a very important market and I have been living here for a long time. We had a lot of interest in Florence from a lot of buyers as well as in Milan, from all over the Gulf region. That is why we wanted to open here.
We are opening Istanbul Fashion Week on March 16, which is great as well.
What is your opinion on the style of men in the UAE?
Well, they are very cosmopolitan; the city is great because of the availability of all brands- top designers as well as the newcomers, so there is a wide range. However, what I realised is that a lot of my clients ask me where they should shop. This is what we hope to address with Afffair.
Will you launch anything exclusive to this region?
The line that we have is very cosmopolitan and international. It was amazing to see buyers from all over the world, from Asia, Africa, the United States have so much interest. You can see that the design is versatile and every person can find something that they are interested in.
What is your opinion on Arabic fashion?
I don’t think there is such a thing as Arabic fashion. I think, there was a style that each region had, but not so much nowadays. Before there was more of that, but now, due to the ease of travel and access to anywhere, people are generally globally trendy. It’s remarkable how, especially in this region, the shoppers want something bespoke, unique, something that not everybody wears, so I think this is where our niche is.
What are your plans for the future of Afffair?
It really depends on… we’ve had a lot of interest from many distributors and prominent organisations who would like to take the brand exclusively, which we are in talks for. I think, since it is the first collection, we are just going with the flow and taking it step by step. The amazing thing was that a lot of people were actually shocked asking, “How can it be from the Middle East?” I wondered why not and they just never imaged that a brand from the Middle East could have such product. A lot of buyers from New York automatically presumed we were French, as they heard me speak the language. They were shocked to find out we were not French and surprised that the production was done in Istanbul.
But Istanbul is known for good quality…
Exactly. What is very important for us is we emphasise on using our own work shops. Me and Rufat Ismailov (my business partner, who is also a designer) work on it together and make sure that the entire production is done in-house. This way we do not depend on outside suppliers. Everything is produced in-house, giving us the best possible quality control. Every piece is handmade, especially on pieces that involve embroidery, which are a big focus in our upcoming Summer collection. We are trying to revive the old hand craft which, I believe, is disappearing nowadays as everything is made by the machine.
Check out Afffair’s collection online at www.afffair.com