As you may have gathered dear readers, I am in The Big Apple. This trip has brought many gifts one of which has been a friendship with an amazing Turkish fashion designer named Lamia Akar.
The Road Less Travelled By
Lamia was a TV journalist in Germany, moving to New York in July 2001 as a correspondent covering life for Germans in the big smoke.
Two months later she found herself standing at ground zero covering the horrific events of 911. It was a life changing experience for this Turkish journalist. She spent the next three years covering the aftermath of the event, and finding it deeply traumatic, she took a long vacation in Mexico, where she made the decision to make her hobby as an accessory designer into her full time job.
From the Camera to the Hand
Today, Lamia’s unique fingerless leather gloves sell at some of New York’s most prestigious fashion stores, and across the world, via her website. Her gloves have graced the hands of famous divas, from Lady Gaga to Cindy Lauper.
I took a few moments to catch up with my inspiring new friend in her Manhattan design studio, to ask her a few questions about life between Istanbul, Cologne and New York and her brave (and ultimately successful decision) to follow her heart and be guided by her passion for fashion.
How did you start making gloves?
L: In Germany I made handbags from recycled denim jeans as hobby and gifted them. In 2005, I began selling in a small store in the East Village. Around that time I made friends with Menusch, a designer who specialized in leather jackets, and she had a gloves pattern from the ‘80s, so I started to design variations on the theme. At the time no two pairs were the same. Now, because of demand, I do produce lines, but wherever possible I still custom make unique pairs.
What is the best thing about being an independent designer in New York?
L: You can choose your own hours, you get to travel, meet people, and you answer to nobody.
Do you miss Turkey?
I miss my family and friend, but I often visit them as I travel to Europe so much for work and now I have so many friends here – some of whom are Turkish, so we can reminisce over coffee any day of the week if we feel nostalgic!
What are your hopes for the future?
To see my gloves everywhere and on everyone.
If you could give advice to a Turkish girl back home, what would it be?
Follow your dreams – they’re the most accurate compass.
How can people find out more about your gloves?
Check my website, or join me on facebook - send an email if you want me to custom make them. I specialize in leather, but I can make you any gloves you wish out of any material, in any style.
You can find Lamia here:
I’ve got my pair!
“If you hurry your work it will turn out wrong.” – Turkish proverb.