Konca Aykan

Creating Timeless Looks



“A great blazer is one of my favourite things in the world as an object,” says London-based stylist Konca Aykan (@koncaaykan). As the former Fashion Director of Vogue Turkey, she’s a regular in street style photos where her looks, which were always about understated chic, proved a welcome antidote to ostentatious mixing of “it” items.

 

With a personal style philosophy that veers away from seasonal trends, we invited Konca to show us how to use one item and create three distinct looks for various occasions. In her view, a blazer is always transformative, even if it’s worn with a pair of super-old trainers. “It just highlights the look, enhances it in a different way so you’re talking Boss, whatever you do,” she says.

 

HOW DID YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH FASHION?

 

I was in my teens and in boarding school for a short period outside London in the ‘90s and my relationship with the world was very much shaped by the magazines and photography of the time. We mainly lived in Istanbul but I spent a lot of time in Russia between 1992 and 1995, being a bored teenager on my own a lot. My main escape was fashion and music through magazines such as Dazed, The Face, Vogue and Photo. I would do cut-outs from magazines and re-build stories and collage them on my walls, my bedroom walls were completely covered! I thought I should get to know people in fashion and started modelling locally in Istanbul before I moved back to the UK to study fashion, but ended up doing a BA in Theatre and Visual Arts.



“IF YOU’RE INVITED TO A PARTY AND YOU WEAR AN EVENING OUTFIT, YOU CAN WEAR A BLAZER AND YOU’RE STILL THE BOSS. THE OTHER ELEMENTS OF THIS OUTFIT ARE SUPER FEMININE, THE LACE, KITTEN HEELS AND THE SUPER MINI SHORTS, BUT WHEN YOU ADD THE BLAZER YOU BRING THE ASPECT OF TAILORING, THAT KIND OF STRENGTH – I’M NOT INTO CALLING IT MASCULINITY – AND ENHANCING IN THAT WAY.”  

 

 

 

WHEN DID YOU GET INTO STYLING AS A CAREER?

 

I was working as a set designer for theatre and opera companies, and I got hired to assist with set design for an i-D shoot. That was my first fashion shoot, and when I saw what the stylist was doing, I realised that’s what I wanted to do. I then worked for an interiors magazine called Maison Française doing set design, but I started adding in models and dressing them – this was many years ago and you could do stuff like that then. I remember the magazine telling me “you’re shooting models in front of interiors and we’re not seeing the interiors so much!” But other publications started noticing my work and that’s how I started in fashion magazines. I was in Turkey when they launched Vogue and I joined as a fashion editor before I eventually became the fashion director.

 

THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER, YOU’VE STYLED A LOT OF PEOPLE, WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM WORKING WITH VARIOUS BODY TYPES?

 

I never think there’s anything to hide in body shapes, it’s always about enhancing what’s beautiful. One of the celebrities that I dressed, for example, had the most curvy, lovely body and I really wanted that to be celebrated in the shoot, so it was very ‘50s inspired. It’s all about enhancing your best features.



“THE THING ABOUT AN ITEM LIKE A BLAZER IS THAT IT WILL ALWAYS MAKE YOU FEEL GLAMOROUS, EVEN IF YOU’RE WEARING A 10-DOLLAR PAIR OF JEANS WITH A T-SHIRT.”

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STYLING SHOOTS ON SET AND STYLING YOURSELF EVERY DAY?

 

I don’t style myself so much really, I like to wear the same things over and over again. I have a wardrobe that’s consistent of blue, black and white, with some colour here and there, and I wear the same clothes until they literally fall apart on me. I will wear the same jeans for several years, If I get bored of them, I’ll put them aside and won’t look at them for a while but eventually, I’ll come back to them.

 

DO YOU TRY AND INCORPORATE NEW TRENDS INTO YOUR WARDROBE?

 

No, I’m not really interested in the trends. When I’m shopping, which is very rare, it’s mainly vintage or I do a lot of exchanges with my friends. My boyfriend is a designer and he actually gifts me really lovely things, but you’ll never be able to tell when or where it’s from. I won’t buy a print if I can tell the season quickly, those are the kind of things I stay away from, which is what I love about all the looks we created today, they really are seasonless.

 

Photographer: Trisha Ward