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5 Minutes With... Medley Creations

by Emma Foreman

Medley Creations is a UK-based artistic fashion house, focused on creating unique pieces of wearable art made from the finest textile materials. We spent five minutes with the co-founder, Kerem Sezer to get a closer look at the brand.

How did Medley Creations begin?

Before I even had the idea for Medley I had amassed a vast collection of sketches and drawings that I had saved over a number of years and didn’t know what to do with. My first step was to combine various drawings into compositions to be used for art prints, home-wares t-shirts etc. I had lots of ideas but no clear direction and it was after showing these designs to friends and contacts within the art and fashion industry that they started to guide me towards scarves and accessories.

After I’d put together several designs, I was able to take an overall view of the inspirations and piece together the story of the brand. I’m sure most people would first have come up with an idea of what they wanted to produce then design accordingly, but I tend to do most things in a random order.

After graduating from University I worked in a number of jobs in very different sectors. I started at Lloyd’s insurance as a commercial claims adjuster, needless to say it didn’t provide much of an outlet for my creativity, so I decided to move on. I then joined a wellness company in a business development role and helped to expand their UK business into areas such as healthy snacks, event catering and opening wellness cafes. After several years I decided to leave the company and focus on my next move, so the process of creating Medley began.

Have you always been interested in fashion?

The honest answer is no, but since my youth I’ve been very passionate about art, design and illustration, so using that as a base I started to learn more and more about the fashion word by attending events, seminars and researching online. The way I see it now, there are so many crossovers within the art and fashion worlds and I admire the beauty and creativity in both forms of expression.

What have been the highest and lowest points on your journey so far?

The high points have been meeting the artisans who produce our scarves and sarongs and seeing the manufacturing process first hand. It’s so satisfying to watch your designs go through the whole manufacturing process to become a finished article.

There are always going to be low points whilst setting up a business. When you’re learning so much for the first time you will always make mistakes or incorrect decisions, but these are also an important part of the process, so you have to learn from then and move on (easier said than done!)

What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?

The latest collection is split into four series; each series acting like a chronological diary of my life and experiences. Within each series I’ve tried to highlight the themes that resonate with everyone, such as the wish to break free from the shackles of monotony that we sometimes all experience in our daily lives (The Locked On Series).

There is so much division in the world (especially now), yet there is so much that ties us together as people whether these are feelings, emotions or aspirations; with this collection I want people be able to recognize these universal themes, and to interpret them in way that’s unique to them.

Do you ever struggle to stay inspired?

I don’t struggle with the inspiration as much as trying to juggle the creative and business processes of the brands. Sometimes it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the smaller details and lose sense of the bigger picture.

When that happens it’s best to step away from your computer and go to one of the countless free exhibitions or events in London to get inspired again.

Where is your go-to meeting spot?

If it’s an informal meeting I always like to go to the members area at the Royal Academy, it’s a nice quiet spot and there’s so much to see and do both in there and around the area.

How would you describe your customer base?

When you’re coming up with your business plan etc you have to try and describe your ideal customer, which is something I always struggled to pin down. The whole concept of Medley is that it’s a mixture of styles and influences and ideas, therefore I feel my customer base would reflect that. I hope that doesn’t sound like a kop out!

What are the morals you run your brand by?

The textile industry is the second largest polluter outside of the oil industry, which is partly caused by the demand for fast fashion. We try and put a lot of thought and time into our designs to create truly unique pieces of wearable art that transcend seasonal trends and last a lifetime.

We’ve been out to visit our manufacturers in Kolkata India who are 4 th generation textileweavers, and printers and contribute greatly to their local community. They use AZO free dyes. For our upcoming range of neckerchiefs and Twillys we’ll have them manufactured in the UK.

Do you have a mentor?

There have been several people who I sought advice from whilst setting up the brand. One person who guided me throughout the process is Liliane Harris, a very influential fashion wholesaler who has several years experience in the industry. She advised me to narrow my focus to scarves and sarongs, as they provide a perfect canvas on which to express my compositions. She also told me that when your brand becomes synonymous for doing one thing very well then you can branch out into other complementary products, which is what I plan to do.

What apps keep you sane?

Haha good question, I have so many mindfulness apps, which I’ve downloaded with the best intentions and never used! I have an awful sense of direction, so the one app I couldn’t do without and definitely gets me to where I need to be is Google maps.

If you could only wear one piece from your collection, what would it be and why?

I’m not sure I could pull off silk chiffon! So I’d opt for soldier’s fortune in cashmere modal blend, blue is definitely my colour.

What’s the biggest style mistake you’ve ever made?

Wow that’s a broad question, probably the 3 years of my life during university where I though baggy grey tracksuit bottoms were a great all day look.

Is there another designer whose work you particularly admire?

In terms of accessories brands I’m a big fan of Suzie Roher’s scarves and initially I used her scarves as the quality benchmark for my own. There are several British designers such as Emma J Shipley is another British designer who has a really creative output and is working some exciting projects.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Twice in my life two people I had never met before randomly told me to keep on drawing, I remember both instances very clearly even though I was in my teens at the time. It’s not the most specific advice but somehow it’s always felt right.

What drew you to Wolf & Badger?

Before I started Medley I used to walk past their Notting Hill store all the time and admire their collections. After we launched the brand, a friend told me they champion Independent British designers so I got in touch and we’re now featured in their Notting Hill store.

Where do you see the brand in 5 years?

I would like to establish Medley as a creative force and for the brand to be synonymous with excellent quality, high concept products. I envisage collaborating with other designers to manufacture their designs creating a platform whereby I act as not just a designer but also a curator other emerging artists/designers.