The brand Guntas was founded by Zeynep Guntas, a Milan-based fashion designer originally from Turkey. As “a self-radicalization where collectiveness can bloom”, her Fall/Winter 2017 collection introduces an interesting balance between a certain dark melancholia and the exotic nature of colours. Developed in the political context of her home country, the collection leads to meditate thanks to her garments' sharp cuts and tangle of lines. We interview its creative director ahead of the capsule collection that Guntas will launch with A$AP MOB's and A$AP TyY on the 21st June during Paris fashion week.
Launching her label in 2016, Zynep Guntas tends to approach design starting from its materiality. Looking for new shapes and textures, she aims to reach innovations in her garments. Subdue Your Mind, her latest collection, is meaningful and significant; the use of lace, straps and zips evokes a deeper meaning: a lack of freedom and constraints in a world more and more pressuring on strong, alternative personalities. Guntas is then to be read as an idea, an abstraction being able to go beyond frontiers, either moral or physical.
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There is quite a little - for not saying any - information about you on the Internet. So, how would you portray yourself?
The Internet offers a communal ground to perceive reality through contemporary writing and imagery. I would portray myself as someone who is indifferent to be described by any third parties.
Why was it important for you to launch your own brand after graduating? Why did you pick up Milan among others fashion cities to base your house?
My brand is a designer brand deterritorialized from my persona. It is an abstract idea; an artistic idea that is not about being influenced by global trends through city networks neither about the establishment of my career in search of personal success. It is neither fashion nor business. I am building a statement as an abstraction of my research. I consider my values as high quality ones, and they have to go along high quality manufacturers and suppliers, so Italy was the best option to make it happen.
How would you characterize Guntas' universe?
Guntas is calm. Guntas has no hurry even when Guntas is in a hurry. This is why Guntas is abstract: it is a brand, it is not a person, so it doesn’t have a portrait.
Why do you design?
Guntas’ universe consists of a certain horizontality of ideas; I clarify my ideas through vagueness. Guntas does not offer an obscure or exclusive point of view. It doesn’t interfere with the persona of anyone who wears it. Guntas aims to be intellectually liquid, to blend with the wearer’s shape without giving up its nature.
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Would you explain the title of your collection, Subdue Your Mind?
Subdue Your Mind is pretty much a counter proposition to have a desire mind-driven. Fashion, either as an artistic or as a commercial practice, stems from the 20th century individualization. Individualization of course is a very complex idea of personal representation in a social environment. Commercial wise, many brands throughout history survived by making promises about becoming someone lese in the future rather than being at the moment. I don’t have a future conception as such. Human species never occupied so much ground on the Earth and never needed so many resources to sustain itself. Human desire is restless and this process is very difficult to interrupt.
I follow Buddhist teachings to subdue my mind; in order to learn without desire, in order to unlearn how to desire, as a whole new set of rules to perceive individualism and representation.
The work on leather is clearly the main plot of this collection. Why did you choose to explore leather and its evocative power?
I think understanding the intentions behind the execution is more important than a technical rundown. I would like to quote John Berger: “Unlike any other visual image, a photograph is not a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace of it. No painting or drawing, however naturalist, belongs to its subject in the way that a photograph does.” I don’t do photography, I do clothes. I don’t interpret nature, I never belong to my subject. My production is tangible yet very abstract.
I have to say that the work is so well done that we could actually spend hours to recompose with the eye the intense compositional labour. How do you understand the making of such a piece like the laced-leather pants?
Guntas pieces are residues of a contemplative process. The compositions are made of components that could be decomposed anytime. Guntas’ wearer doesn’t have to adopt a whole Guntas look. In fact, a ‘Guntas look’ does not have to be completed with other Guntas pieces. Wearing a Guntas piece could be described as a demonstration of experimentation and blending.
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I've read the collection was in part inspired by last year’s terrorist attacks in Turkey. How much did this have and impact in your designs?
Actually 2016’s attacks are an over interpretation. I come from a society that has been constantly terrorized for the past ten years or so. I would suggest Subdue your mind as a self-radicalization where collectiveness can bloom.
The political situation in Turkey is a bit problematic these days, as it is also in many other countries. How much do you think fashion, as a design and a lifestyle practice, should interact, or at least express a form of resistance towards political issues?
What I do is a direct social manifestation, as clothes have to be activated. They must be seen and blend into the social ecology. Fashion, especially street fashion, becomes perceived very differently than conceptual shootings in public space. I would say that a form of resistance in this obscure post-truth era would be ridiculous. Resistance should be direct.
How do you imagine someone in your clothing? What kind of attitude or maybe personality would you love to transcend through your pieces?
Again, Guntas takes the form of its wearer. I don’t promise a better becoming. Guntas is the practice of being. No one should buy a piece to become a better or cooler version of himself/herself. Guntas’ pieces should be worn because they speak to the wearer, being in absolute togetherness with the current moment rather than thinking forward.
Guntas’ presentation will take place on Wednesday 21st June, followed by an afterparty from 10pm at SALÓ, 142 Rue Montmartre, Paris.
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