KAFT is a “design brand” that’s taking over the world at the moment. The house celebrates two key concepts: creativity and care. It is aimed at designers, art-lovers, creative mind and celebs.
Available in 84 countries, its positioning is very clear, KAFT is meant to be for people who aren’t ‘shaped by pop culture’ and its designs are totally unique. Based in Turkey, the brand received a valuation of 1 million TL and its first angel investment in 2013. Ever since, the growth has been phenomenal and is available in London, Paris, Milan, Mexico, L.A, NYC, Rio, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Sydney among many other locations.
T-shirts, bags, long sleeves, socks, beanies and more are available on the amazing platform and the pieces feature harmonious colours, shapes and meaningful stories.
Creative Director Enes Kurtuluş caught up with Art is Alive on its foundational beginnings, the creative relationships with artists and the future of the brand.
How was the brand born? Can you tell us more about the beginnings please?
Kaft originated from designs with an idea and a story behind them. Thoughts began to shape after a long period of preparation. During this process, the name, the logo and the first designs emerged. The 2010 printing trials of the illustrations started Kaft. The first 10 designs in this period met with users and to this date, over 400 designs have been created. After creating the concepts and stories on t-shirt designs, they spread to other products.
What is the main inspiration for the designs?
While creating the designs, our biggest source of inspiration is questioning the era we live in, and how it affects people. As we discuss ideas, we feel the need to think from a different side and try not to be influenced by popular culture. This feeling turns into illustrations with a need to tell something.
What excites us the most during production is reviewing produced works (books, movies, paintings, songs) even trying out utterly different production techniques (3D design, digital painting, VR painting, oil painting) and bringing together one or more concepts/objects that would never come together naturally.
Needless to say that the process of ideation is both the most intense and painful part of the production. Sometimes ideas are talked about on a journey and take shape after 3 years. And sometimes a sketch made on a bar table or by the fire can be ready for production the next day. It’s about the excitement of the story or the visual concept, or how bravely we open the unknown drawers.
Have you ever collaborated with artists?
We collaborated with different artists around the world such as Moonassi, Oscar Llorens, Seungyea Park, Cinta Vidal. We continue meeting with new designers each year. What nourished us is witnessing the perspectives and ideas of other artists and including designs that come out with different stories. When all these different ideas are included in our collection, we like seeing how they blend with other designs easily.
Kaft designer collaborations: https://www.kaft.com/en/designers
How many collections do you launch a year?
We launch 30 new designs every year. These designs come in series and it is important for us that they are in harmony with hundreds of other designs. We are looking for integrity, and experience a change in our designs with small touches. While doing this, we extend it over a period of time and allow our ideas to feed on contemporary styles.
How do you see the future of the brand?
From day one, Kaft was considered as not just a brand but a living character that lives and grows as a human being. Kaft culture becomes more and more distinct with every new work and style. Many steps were taken to share, spread and develop in addition to experiencing artistic and aesthetic concerns. We have always loved encouraging creative minds.
To grow this culture more in the future of Kaft, we aim to participate in digital platforms and artistic events and take it a level higher. These days, we started to speak fluently in 3D worlds and it seems that we will use the freedom areas of digital to the fullest. Kaft is a vocal brand and loves communication. We are getting ready to tell our stories through different communication channels.