Inside an old freight elevator above a parking garage lies leather craftsman Aykut Ozen's work studio. Ozen is a musician and self-taught designer (he learned how to sew because of the weather) focusing primarily on edgy, handmade leather jackets and bags. He's also one of the contestants in this year's Independent Designer Runway Showcase. Get a behind the scenes peek inside his workshop in our interview below..
What neighborhood is your studio in?
My studio is on Capitol Hill. It's a very convenient location for me to work from and makes it easy to connect with other artists and potential clients.
What is your earliest memory of designing?
I've always been observing and crafting art in different forms. I started writing music when I was 15, and then did some graphic design and video editing. It wasn’t until the winter of 2009 during that heavy snow storm when I began working with leather. I was stuck at home and I attempted to make a jacket. I ended up hand sewing it from scratch. It was a nightmare, but turned out pretty cool.
What do you do to get yourself in a productive headspace when you're feeling stuck?
I go back and forth between writing music and working with leather. When I get overwhelmed with one I switch to the other and so on.
Five things you can't work without:
My heavy duty sewing machine, a mallet, leather, music, and inner peace.
Where can we find your pieces and where would like you us to find them in the future?
At the moment all pieces are custom made to order through the workshop. I'm currently working on a new website that will have an online shop. I do most of everything on my own including crafting, business, design, and promotion, so it's a slow but very steady process.