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Our Brand Founder Sıla Gökuç's ''New Generation Branding! '' in Paftamag

Hello Stranger Jacket; New Generation Branding!

Selling the jackets that Sıla Gökuç painted with her team and being a female designer in Turkey.

“From boring denim jackets to great designs…

Add a piece of yourself to your denim jacket…

Every person is unique and special, let your jacket represent your soul!

Carry a canvas on your back.

We brought art to wearable form.”

HELLO STRANGER JACKET

Duygu Çöplü : Hello Sıla, first of all, thank you for agreeing to interview us. Let's get to know you a little bit, can you tell our readers about yourself?

Sıla Gökuç: I was born in Ankara. I was born in 1994, so I guess I am 24 years old now, there is always a problem in those calculations because a year slips or something… I studied at Hacettepe University. I entered in 2012 and graduated in 2017, so last year. I am a graduate of Information and Document Management. Most people do not understand exactly what information and document management is, we can also call it information technologies for a better understanding. Actually, it's a long-standing section and it's a bit information-intensive. It's more about how to access information and convey it to people. Today, as the methods of obtaining information have shifted to web technologies, our department has also been shaped in that area over time. In general, we examine topics such as how we access information on the web, where we can find the right information, and how we can find it. At the same time, we did a lot of work on data analysis and I saw the advantages of this in Hello Stranger. I throw away the customer comes and interacts with us, all our conversations about the customer; where did we talk, where did he go, who; We store them as women or men, so that we can deduce certain meanings from them in the future and decide where to invest. We can do this in every industry. Our department actually makes great contributions to many sectors. If we can make these analyzes within the company, it stays within our own work and field, that is, within the brand, and there is no need to work with another company.

Before graduating from university, I studied fashion design for a year in Ankara, it was actually a course. It was a one-year process, but unfortunately it didn't add much to me other than being part of that kind of community. One key element I learned was: The most important thing in the textile industry is the mold and it is very difficult to remove the mold. In other words, we can call pattern knowledge the geometry and mathematics of the textile industry. For example, the biggest difference between buying a black dress from a good brand and buying it from a bad brand is the pattern as well as the fabric quality. Because brands with good molds produce such a product that it fits us perfectly. I mean, I got a general education about it.

Then I went to Milan for Erasmus in the third year. It was an incredible opportunity for me to go to Milan. Actually, the university sent me to Parma, it's an hour's drive between Parma and Milan. I made some katakulli there. I was staying in Milan commuting to Parma or attending graduate classes a few days a week. I also took graduate courses to get credit counted and we didn't need to go every day, we agreed on skype. In this way, I stayed in Milan for 6-6.5 months. Amazing place, it opened my vision so much. We should not think of it only as fashion, it was possible to find all kinds of art in Milan, there were many times when my mouth fell open. You go out on the street, it's incredible, you go to a cafe, it's incredible… I was twenty-one or twenty-two years old when I went, it was the first semester of third grade. It was an incredible opening in my vision. You see such things that I am trying to rate for Ankara, yet there is not even 1 out of 70 in Ankara. This is incredibly sad. There are marginal, original, incredible ideas, so I'm glad I stayed in Milan, not Parma.



Then I came back to Ankara and graduated from university. I wanted to do something related to my field. After all, I have studied for 5 years, I have worked hard, but at the same time, there is something inside me, so I want to be intertwined with art, colors and such original things. I arranged internships in 4 very good technology companies. I was interested in the field of digitization. I worked at the Turkish Patent Institute for 3 months. I was digitizing the papers and skates there. Incredible documents were coming my way, such as the naming rights of The Lord Of The Rings in Turkey. For example, the naming rights document of the name Gandalf in Turkey is from I don't know how many years, it was incredibly beautiful. After that, I worked in a company that made web computer systems. It was also very good there, it was at METU Technopolis. I wanted to do something related to design there, too, they took me to the web interface design department. In other words, the systems we use, where the buttons should be, what color they should be. At the same time, I turned to web design a bit there and my knowledge increased. I was taking lessons from that too. So it was good that I consolidated my knowledge in the field of computer interface design there. Then I left there and worked in a company that produces information systems in Hacettepe Teknokent. Here, I worked on the analysis of data collected from social media. We were extracting and analyzing data from social media, namely Twitter, with certain keywords. We were deducing certain meanings such as where and how there was density, and we acted accordingly. The other place where I did my internship was a company working on social media and Twitter data, and here we were collecting and analyzing various data from social media and getting ideas about what to do with the results. We were passing them on to other brands working with us. My task in this company was to prepare the results completely from our own account, with info graphics, small cute videos, that is, we can think of them as advertising videos. For example, data such as which movie was watched the most that evening on television, which TV series was watched the most, which channel was watched. In a way, it was actually a design thing.

Duygu: You have a brand called Hello Stranger Jacket. How was this brand established?

Sıla: When I looked back at the end of all these things, I saw that I could not break away from production, art and design. In other words, I have a job there, I have to do my job, there is a production there, but I wanted to produce more of that production, to get involved with more of it, but the companies I worked with could not give me that option because it is not their job. So now I'm looking around, where will I be happy? How will I do something? At the same time, this job is not for me at all… You start this job at nine in the morning, your job continues until six in the evening and you are a mercenary slave. So once we come to this life and you have no freedom. If you work in the private sector, you have twice a year leave, one week, one week. So, when will you take time for yourself? After all, you earn a lot of money, but there is no point in earning this money unless you spend it and do what you want. Naturally, I started to think about how I could work in such a libertarian but at the same time doing the best job, where I could also be free, be in touch with people all the time, be active. I didn't actually sit down and think about starting this business. You know, I want something like this, it wasn't like I'd get into a jacket dyeing business. It was completely coincidental, the idea came to me all of a sudden, that's how they tell me, the entrepreneur takes the stage like an apple falls on his head...

While I am in this search, I have such thoughts that I am running away from Ankara, whatever I do, I continue my hobbies at the same time, because I enjoy painting and painting, I always continue those efforts. At that time, my friends had a boutique hotel, I always go there on vacation. Whether it's nature or organic farming food, it's an incredibly beautiful place. We sat there and talked one day, what should we do at the hotel, should we take the seashells over there, make a frame like this, paint the wall, I said from there. Aha, how can we do something, will it be nice? Is it okay? Do we draw something about the sea? Then we painted the wall, this is called mural art. It was a big work, about two meters by two meters style. Then from there we went to another wall. It looked really nice when the walls were painted. It's not like tiny little wall paintings. There is a more organic texture, so there is a big difference between painting the wall and hanging a painting on the wall. It's kind of like the difference between a real tattoo and a temporary tattoo.


There, a friend of mine said, "I wonder if we carry it on us or how we carry it, it's pretty cool." You know, where we paint something like this is a logic, like we should paint it on our shoes… At that time, I decided to paint a jacket. A friend of mine volunteered and we decided to dye his jacket. I had a really hard time painting the first jacket, it was a precious jacket for my friend and I didn't want to ruin it. At the end of this effort, I have produced the best of what I have done so far. If it normally takes me two days to dye a jacket, this jacket took me a week. It was risky, I wasn't sure what would come out, I worked hard for this reason. So the jacket became our new wall, our canvas. After that, I made one for myself too. Another friend of mine, who saw what I did, asked me to dye his own jacket as well. I painted a design that I decided with him. Then someone else came, he asked, then someone else, then someone else, and a small network formed, wearing these jackets. Then I realized this: Everyone wants what I did, not everyone wants the same design, of course, but everyone liked the idea. I thought about whether there could be such a demand, and collected all the work I had done. Actually, I decided to put it on Instagram for display purposes at first. Of course, I'm also thinking about the name. I started with this idea: The first people who wanted this job were strangers who didn't know each other but wanted the same thing. After putting on the jackets, when two people who did not know each other met on the road and saw the jackets, they would know that these jackets came from the same place, from the same person. So they could form a bond between them and greet each other as they passed. That's how it was when I was this young at first. In fact, it developed on its own in this way, then people I never knew started writing to me from my Instagram account; “Can you do it for me, too?” he asked. He grew and grew and the orders suddenly increased a lot.

Duygu: What does 'authenticity' mean to you?

Sıla: It means nothing. It was a joke! The answer to this is something that will vary from person to person… For me, originality is when you see the original, it stops and stays with the person in his/her brain for 5 seconds. For example, a little baby has never seen a banana before in his life. When he sees the banana for the first time, there is a sudden shock in the baby's brain. So the banana itself is unique. Or you're out with your friends and then you see something very original, it makes you pause like this, so you just stay there because there's a process of realizing it, understanding it, something you haven't seen before, and five seconds of shock. I think that's the definition of originality.

Duygu: How do you think you reflect your sense of originality in Hello Stranger Jacket?

Sıla: Every human being is naturally born with a single and unique soul. I am Sıla Gökuç, there is no other Sıla Gökuç. The experiences we live, the things we learn and know make us different people. I naturally think that the human soul is unique. For this reason, our starting point at Hellostranger was actually a personalized jacket, namely “unique jackets for unique people”. You are the only one, the soul is the only one, and the idea of creating the only jacket that identifies with your soul is actually the basis of Hello stranger. In other words, this jacket carries traces of your soul and personality, and someone who looks at that jacket can see the characteristics of the owner of that jacket. You carry your identity in a way. For example, there are some people; they hide their opinions and likes, they may not express them very easily or they do not prefer it. I hear from many people who see the jacket: The jacket is beautiful, but I can't wear it because it's too conspicuous. Not everyone likes this attention-grabbing, I also want people to say, 'What the heck is this' when they see the jackets.

Duygu: What is the vision of the brand for you, where do you want to reach? Does this type of market currently exist in Turkey?


Sıla: There are examples in the world that do this job well, and it is not done only with paint. It can also be done with sewing, different crests and embroidery. As the vision of the brand, I would like to say until there is not a single unpainted denim jacket left on the street, but this is a bit too idealistic view. So imagine you are sitting in a cafe, there is a nice woman or man in front of you. You want to have an idea about that person in front of you, and this person actually has something on his back that reflects his own personality. I want people to dress lovingly and willingly expressing themselves comfortably. Also, I have the idea of opening a club, community, art house, created by those who wear these jackets, that will support each other in every way. Artists in Turkey need a lot of support. I think of Hello Stranger house as a place where artists and people who are interested in art can come together, where they can have conversations, exhibitions, performances of artists, have a pleasant time, make presentations and workshops. In the near future, there is an opening to the foreign market. At the same time, I would like to expand the collection a little more with different textile products in addition to the jacket. Actually, I don't want to limit this brand to jackets. On this road, we switch to leather jackets in October. For the winter, there is the idea of a coat and a parka.

Duygu: The fact that you're chasing your dreams at such a young age is truly admirable. What difficulties are you encountering?

Sıla: First of all, in this entrepreneurship business, there is no such thing as being ready, you have to build everything yourself, this is the biggest difficulty of the job, if you do not lay the foundation well, the building you build on it will collapse in the future. There's a lot of detail to deal with when you build on top of zero. Another difficult part of the job is that no matter how good you are, no matter how good the idea, concept, product you come up with, you will be unknown. You have to test it first. Okay, there's something great, maybe there isn't, but I'm trying to think in a positive way, the awareness and promotion of it is a much, much harder part. With the brand, you are born into a complete void.

Duygu: Because it's new to the market, you're also seeing a lack of role models. Since you created the path you will follow, in fact, the whole responsibility falls on you.

Sıla: That's right, the path to be followed in another dimension of the business is not ready anyway, this is not the case for many people, but even if that path is ready, the part of reaching people and letting them know that you are here is very difficult. This is a brand from Ankara, we have participated in many design markets here, we advertise. In this context, since our target audience is design markets and art centers, we hope that, for example, an art student will be aware of the brand and they will know first. In the design markets, we encounter reactions such as, "Why don't I know such a thing, why don't you give any news?" Then you start to question whether the activities of introducing yourself will not be enough. At this stage, young entrepreneurs, young women entrepreneurs, well-grounded people should be morally supported. There is already a certain audience that hears their voices. However, I am personally against bloggers and influencers advertising a brand for a certain budget. I believe they must really like the product so that they share it according to their own taste. For example, Cansu Akın, Pelin Taşkan, Elif Tanriverdi and Dilara Öztunç, who we work with, liked our products and said that they would be happy to promote such a product. The audience that follows them follows them because they like their style. If they promote something that they don't like and that is irrelevant, their audience naturally won't like it and it won't do any good. Another difficulty is that since we are active on social media, I have always taken the following actions from the beginning of the road; I kept my name behind the brand. Because being young is hard, being an artist is hard, being a woman is hard. In the circumstances where these names were combined, I was a little afraid to come out and say, 'I am doing this'. Social media is the sea, everyone has the right to be there. You can find people of all demographics, so there are people from all walks of life, there are people with very different views. People who don't like you may be people who don't have the same vision, don't talk to you in the same style or way of communication. Since social media is open to everyone, you may have to communicate with such people. Since I didn't want to face anything negative, I wanted to hold myself back. Of course, this also had a disadvantage, people actually have the following perception; Knowing that behind the brand there is a person like "themselves" feels more sincere and creates a friendly perception. This is something that increases brand credibility, after all, we don't do mass production, we produce custom art. When the customer knows that the other person is a real person instead of an abstract concept, his sympathy and trust in the brand increases, so I chose to follow this type of path in order not to take certain risks. One of the difficulties of the job is that; At the beginning of the job, something needs to be moved, a workshop needs to be found, so you have to carry a lot of products and go to distant places alone. I had to carry long distances that would be physically difficult for a girl to carry, I have suitcases in my hand, I am alone, it is necessary to meet with many sewing workshops, tailors, a different mass of people is entered. At first, he asked me, "You can take 1-2 orders maximum, how much can you get at most?" there was a lot of people saying. This was very disappointing for the first timers.

Duygu: Since this is a new concept now, they came to you under the guise of thinking about your well-being and said that this is not the case.

Sıla: I want to do a new job, there is no demand for it, at first it was seen as 'unnecessary' because there was no demand. However, while we are shopping right now, we do not buy out of necessity, most of the things we already buy. The things we do purely to satisfy our soul.

Duygu: In our current world, I don't think there is a greater need than for a person to carry his 'identity'. If we define the modern world as the destruction of old traditions and cultures and people characterizing themselves as individuals, what you do may actually be a need to breathe.

Sıla: Yes, most sectors have already shifted to personal service, there will come a certain time, I think that in 5 years, brands that do not provide personal service and cannot make people feel special will decline.


Duygu: People now want to spend their money on it. It's like the exit of the 3rd generation cafes, I guess. People want to pay a little more money and get a warmer service, they want to feel valued.


Sıla: There are too many people in the world of sameness, one gets bored in it. For example, if we hypothetically move away from earth, if an alien looks at earth, he sees a uniform thing, a human does not mean anything different to him. Giving personalized service means saying 'Hello, you are here' to a person.

Duygu: It almost feels like human existence is accepted.

Sıla: That's why people like to receive this service.

Duygu: Additionally, is there anything you would like to share with our readers?

Sıla: Be different… Be subjective, need some action, need awkwardness. Don't be afraid to stand out and stand out. If the tree that bears fruit is stoned, do not be afraid of it. For example, I was afraid of this, I am still afraid. I want to open a personal blog account, I'm ashamed, because they make fun of me. For example, it's about the countries I've visited or the Hello Stranger Jacket.


Duygu:I think the reason why people oppose the phenomenon of 'marginal people' is this; There are people who take different paths for themselves because they become ordinary and cannot take what they can get from life in the same way as everyone else. On the way to finding themselves, there are many people who fall into the clutches of imitation. For example, when someone is going to follow a path, there is a marginal person in front of him, when he says, "Let me follow him, I'll be like him" and pretend to be someone he is not, then it just doesn't happen. You stay with what you try. Of course, we can also find ourselves by trial and error method, if it makes you happy, buy again. There is pressure on all of us to fit in, for example we have gender roles, we also have socioeconomic roles, but everyone always reacts to people who pretend to be someone they are not and try to differentiate. It's human nature to be afraid of what doesn't fit. It is said, 'Bro, how marginal are you being, be a little normal, clear your mind'.

Sıla: I think a sane person can differentiate anyway, it is difficult for a person with a standard intelligence to differentiate.

Duygu: One should never be afraid to reflect on their differences. And when I say this, I'm not talking about high IQ or special success in a certain field. One should reflect that he comes from within, but in a way that he will feel happy by finding the right medium, without harming the society. Or vice versa, I don't think anyone should have to undermine themselves just to adapt to society. I think that's where the mindset of people 'you're trying to act like a marginal to get attention' comes from. I think it has something to do with capacity...

Sıla: In terms of jackets, not everyone can choose to wear these jackets all the time because they are a very striking element to carry. There is no point in being afraid anymore, we looked at the century we came to, we saw it… Also, read lots of books!

For the original article : http://paftamag.com/hello-stranger-jacket-yeni-jenerasyon-markalasma/


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