The Nisantasi district of Istanbul has traditionally been home to the city's fashion designers and flagship stores, but with the opening of retail stores including Building, Galata seems to be attracting the attention of locals and visitors searching for fresh fashion inspiration. Shopping tourism company Global Blue (whose logo is synonymous with tax-free shopping) speculated that Galata's rise in popularity may be partly credited to Turkish designer Bahar Korçan, whose studio has been situated in Galata since 2005.
|Clean, crisp displays allow the fashions to take
centre stage inside the Galata location.
Building features the wares of artists, fashion and interior designers, an innovative retail concept that put the retailer on The Guardian's list of Istanbul's top ten shopping destinations in 2011. And the gallery-concept store is quickly establishing itself as much more than a fashion retailer. Since opening in 2009, Building has created a stir by featuring a collection of youthful designers including Ayse Deniz Yegin and Kith&Kin.
Its industrial backdrop of natural woods and exposed brick lends to a rustic atmosphere and enables the goods of featured designers to shine rather than compete with merchandising displays. By focusing on some yet-to-be discovered design stars, Building seems to have carved out a niche for cultivating an inspiring environment for shoppers and designers alike.
Offering the appeal of a gallery setting, where dozens of designers have the opportunity to showcase their fashion and accessories lines for several months at a time, Building may also be appealing with buyers in search of artistic inspiration. While the retailer features some designers who are fashion veterans, for others, it's one of their first chances to bring their work to the paying public. As Bahar Arasan, Building's fashion coordinator told Global Blue, "We are the first place to start selling young Turkish designers. Building is like a stage for designers to show themselves in Galata."
With a series of ongoing projects that include Build My Fabric, Numune and Artwall, one might say that the retailer appears to be positioning itself as a leading destination for art and culture in Istanbul. For S/S 2012, the Build My Fabric project included a collective of emerging and luxury designers focusing on featuring architectural styles, while young artistic talents are supported through the company's Artwall project. Reflecting the store's industrial-style interior, Building's Numune initiative supports the initial visions and prototypes of young furniture designers.
Along with housing multiple fashion collections, the company has also developed its own product line that includes personal items such as cologne sold in vintage-inspired packaging. Even though promoting new designers seems to be a big part of their focus, Building's event management arm has extended its reach by developing signature events for brands including Lucky Strike. It seems these well-known brands are taking a shot at marketing themselves along a different path, one in which established brands may exist in harmony with those who are quite possibly soon-to-be-known.
Beyond its Galata location, Building has followed the retail trend by taking to the streets with a series of pop-up locations. By bringing fashion to the masses, these temporary stores not only offer additional exposure for designers looking to tap into a different buyer market but it may also help to win over a new batch of shoppers who may opt to frequent Building's Galata location.
Amid Istanbul's young yet thriving fashion scene, Building is a must-hit destination that seems to not only have struck a chord with artists and designers but has also struck a balance between gallery and retailer by offering shoppers a sampling of the city's best and brightest designs.
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