For the second time, sitting in front of me wearing in all-black, his Mustafa Kemal Ataturk printed t-shirt was in fact the most eye-catching thing in general. In the end of seven months, I realize, he has now not much difference from a Turkish man –like what he was sure of. And we talked about his coaching of JTR’s (Jewellery Exporters’ Association) jewelry designing course and several more.
interview by Dilara Unal
D.U.: How were the classes and dialog between you and your students ?
C.V: I am so glad we had productive and joyful time in the classrom. The students were in harmony learning and working together. Most of them are already professionals. And they took the opportunity to develope some of the techniques they are unfamiliar with. There is no way not to see the progress they have made until the end of the course. Each of them achieved what we set out to do. The synergie between themselves in and outside the classroom had a huge effect on their success. As such, me and my students had a very good time which creates a bond both professionally and friendly between each other. So we will never cut off the communication.
D.U.: What are your expectations from your students in their way to becoming a better jewelry designer?
C.V.: Here, differently from other courses we based our learning model on an East-West synthesis kind of perspective. And nearly all of them became ready to enter business life but it takes at least ten years of learning process even when there is no end to learning actually… so we think of planning an upper stage training program. Devotion and effort are must-have’s of this job. In this situation our course was just a beginning. There are so much to see. I expect them to discover everything as much as possible.
D.U.: In your opinion, Is creativity an acquirement or an inborn ability?
C.V.: It is possible to say that the various abilities we possess are in unique mechanisms that exist inherently. It is in our hands whether or not to improve this mechanism. The more we use our skills, the better we express ourselves. Creativity is a kind of talent that needs to be fed and processing to be exposed.
D.U.: Which one is more closer to you, keeping up with fashion or originality?
C.V.: Following different trends and concepts makes us a more exploratory and rich in soul. We need to find something new all the time. I try to stay in touch with fashion so that it may open new doors. But in a way, we are the one who created the mainstream. Everyone who produces and spreads has a role in this. Before you know it, maybe you will become the one who bring the next fashion…
D.U.: When we look at the latest trends in the jewelry world, we see spiritualism themed designs at the forefront. Do you think that these designs that we see everywhere in a sudden caused a lack in the meaning of the subject?
C.V.: Difficult question ... Since jewels have become more than just ornaments and accessories, a way to describe oneself, they have become more personal and special items. The fashion of each period varies according to that day’s socio-cultural / economic events. I think today the emotional hunger of people is the main reason why these jewels with spiritual symbols are being trendy now. These symbols correspond to the need in society for meaning and depth. Even though when something is worn by everyone at the same time may lead to lose its meaning, I think that is not true this time. Maybe the more they are everywhere, the better are their power. Namely, spiritualism spreads when shared. To take another example, being vegan is a fashion that never gets old. In this case, we can not say someone who have just become a vegan,become a vegan because it is fashionable. He became vegan because he embraced and supported the idea behind him. So the underlying meaning and purpose make sense.
D.U.: You have spent a long time in Istanbul. What do you think about this city?
I knew I was going to be an Istanbulite from the first moment I saw this place. And now I am! We spent our time every one day in a week visiting the city with my students. We went all the places that come your mind. We breathe the air of the Grand Bazaar. Beyoğlu captivated me the most. I guess it wouldn't be wrong to call there the cradle of subculture. As you walk through the narrow streets of Galata, it seems almost impossible that athmosphere would not inspire you!
D.U.: Finally, what would you advise your graduate students?
C.V.: I especially recommend my students who want to build a brand, to gain experience by designing for other brands first. The marks they leave in brands not only enrich their portfolios but also push them to form a bigger picture. Joining forces is one of the best things you can do if you are in the beginning of the journey.
Photos are taken from the 1st interview.