on clothing and grooming:
Looking at Osmanbey

Osmanbey is one of the key areas in Istanbul where manufacturing and
export of textile goods for semi-legal shuttle trade is situated. A residential
district for upper middle class of Turkish origin until 1960s, the area started
to attract attention of textile manufacturers’ wholesale shops from 1970s
on. The relocation of wholesale shops gained an incredible momentum
after the dissolution of socialist regimes. Today Osmanbey is still in a state
of continuous metamorphosis where the change manifests itself directly on
the façades of shops that constantly reinvent themselves to keep up with
the global fashion trends. Residential buildings of 1950s are transformed
partly commercial buildings and older buildings from the start of the 20th
Century are restored into hotels, to host dealers that arrive from East
Europe, Middle East or Africa. A multi-cultural marketplace emerges that
the leaders of the community regard as a “permanent open-air fashion fair” .
Successful companies from the area that have become important brands in
East Europe yet unknown in Turkey try to raise their profile by erecting their
signature buildings within a dense urban setting. A unique street culture
emerges from the interaction of workers, sales representatives, and fashion
models from a wide range of countries.

Realized as a commission for the I. Istanbul Design Biennial, “on clothing
and grooming: Looking at Osmanbey” focuses on the façades and exterior
of the buildings in the area and is the first phase of an in-depth analysis of
architectural, economic and social aspects of Osmanbey. The installation
consists of various architectural plans, sections of the area, relieve
drawings of transformed façades, photographs, texts containing quotes
from research on history of Osmanbey and economics of shuttle trade and
textile rests.