Drawing inspiration from the abstract works of Neo-Conceptual artists, Hervé Huitric and Peter Halley, Ace Nayman’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection is a celebration of contemporaneity and change. To mark the launch of the brand’s new drop, we speak to founder and creative director Ece Nayman about her design philosophy, her unique upbringing in Istanbul, and her ever-changing relationship with technology and digital culture.
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Hi Ece, how are you? What have you been up to lately?
Thank you, I’m doing great. I recently launched my Fall/Winter 2023 collection, so life has been quite busy these days. I’m throwing a launch party this week for the new collection, which I’m very excited for. I’ve also been working on designing the new F/W 2024 collection. As you know, the cycle never ends!
You grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. What do you cherish the most about your upbringing in the city?
Istanbul is such a lively and multicultural city, it’s also very chaotic; I love this city because it fits my personality. I’m a multitasker–at any given time, I’m working on multiple projects. This city teaches you how to solve problems and how to use your time efficiently. These are all important qualities you need as a businesswoman. I think this city has made me into who I am today, and I’m happy about it.
You earned a BA in Womenswear Design from London College of Fashion. How did your time in London shape or influence your design practice today?
I moved to London when I was 17 years old and the city had a huge influence on me. It widened my perspective and really influenced me as a designer. I think London is the best place to be for a fashion student. The city has a great balance between history, culture and contemporary style. It’s such a blend of the design principles I learned about in school. London, coupled with the formative education I got at my college, made me the designer I am today. The city’s museums, art, exhibitions, libraries, and the street and the rave culture had a guiding influence on me.
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Have you always wanted to pursue a career in fashion? Was there a particular moment that spurred your interest in the field?
I have never imagined myself in another field. I believe that I was born to do this. From a very early age, it was always my dream to be a designer and all my life I have been working to achieve this dream and to make my younger self proud.
Tell me about your brand, Ace Nayman. What does it represent? How do you want people to feel when they wear an Ace Nayman design?
Ace Nayman’s mission is to be as unique as possible. This has always been my goal while designing. The brand is an expression of my personality, so I want it to be joyful, confident, fun, and outgoing with a sprinkle of mystery. I want people to feel stylish and confident while wearing the brand. But most importantly, I want them to make the clothes their own. I want Ace Nayman pieces to reflect each person’s unique sense of style.
For your Fall/Winter 2023 collection, you drew inspiration from the Neo-Conceptual artists Herve Huitric and Peter Halley. What about their work struck you?
Centre Pompidou is one of my favourite museums. During one of my trips to Paris, I stumbled upon a Hervé Huitric’s exhibit there and was very inspired by his work. His use of colour and abstraction, especially in his works from the ‘70s, was a huge source of inspiration for this collection. Since Ace Nayman’s DNA is comprised of colour, Huitric became a natural source of inspiration for the brand. Around the time I discovered his work, I was already very interested in Peter Halley’s neo-conceptual paintings. I drew inspiration from his use of geometric shapes and flash colours and combined it with Huitric’s art to create my F/W collection.
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It’s interesting to find inspiration in other creative realms outside of fashion. What elements from these artists’ paintings have translated into the clothes? How do you bridge those different languages and worlds?
While everyone draws inspiration from a different field, I usually find myself gravitating towards art and museums when it’s time to design a new collection. I like putting a few artists in conversation with each other to create an imaginary dialogue between them; I mix and match different qualities of their work to create something unique for the Ace Nayman brand. Oftentimes, I look for inspiration in the use of colours and media. Then I use the inspiration to make a unique pattern that reflects me and Ace Nayman as a brand.
I recall your first collection also being inspired by visual artists such as Martin Creed, Phillip K Smith III and Yiğit Yazıcı. This way of working is really interesting to me. In your mind, is there a distinction between fine art and fashion?
Modern art is Ace Nayman’s biggest inspiration. There is a lot of research that goes into the creation of a new collection. I love going to museums when it’s time to cook up a new collection. I think art is always connected to fashion. I consider myself very lucky to be living in a world full of such vibrant art, artists and designers are in a constantly evolving conversation with one another.
Your recent collection has been described as an “ode to the 21st century’s digital realm”. Can you expand on this? In what ways do Neo-Conceptual artists, today’s digital era, and your designs collide and converge?
I learned that Hervé Huitric studied art and computer science, which is what led him to create digital art using a computer. What is most inspiring is that he did all of this in the ‘80s. I found this very interesting because it is very much in line with the world we are living in. AI-generated designs, 3D printing, robotics and computers are essential parts of the design process today.
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As a designer, what does your relationship with technology and digital culture look like?
I love digital culture. Unlike most people, I don’t think of it as a negative thing in our lives. I think it connects us more than it alienates us and these connections are very inspiring. They feed me as an artist. I like artificial things and I believe that technology enables us to execute the crazy ideas that would otherwise live in our minds only.
What are you most excited about in the fashion industry today?
I love the changes in the fashion world. Some say fashion repeats itself but I believe in the opposite. I can’t say that only one thing excites me, everything speaks to me and everything excites me.
What’s on the horizon for Ace Nayman?
Currently we are working on expanding to Europe and the Middle East. My biggest dream has always been to be a globally renowned brand.
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