How Designer Dilara Findikoglu is Saving the World Via One-Off T-Shirts

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Dilara Revolution Chapter 1 Dilara Findikoglu
Dilara Revolution, Chapter 1: Send Girls to SchoolPhotography by Ralph Whitehead

The first ‘Dilara Revolution’ sees the Turkish designer raise funds and awareness for women who have been forced into lives they didn’t choose

“I always wanted to do something revolutionary,” says Istanbul-born, London-based designer Dilara Findikoglu, whose new project Dilara Revolution is her attempt to do just that. This project will see the Another Man cover star raise money for causes closest to her heart through the sale of special, one-off pieces available for purchase in the weeks following her shows. The first chapter, launching today, comes in the wake of a decadent S/S19 presentation at Dennis Severs’ House on Halloween.

“The Dilara Revolution is my own personal revolution to create things that inspire positivity and change in the world rather than just to sell and waste,” the designer says. “I feel like it’s important to help renew people’s awareness and energy to help fight problems in the world.” The first charity she will be supporting – via the sale of her signature ‘cone bra T-shirt’ with belly dancer-style detailing – is the World Human Relief Project, a charity which works to prevent forced marriages, child sexual abuse and trauma, as well as helping young girls find access to schools and education. 

“In the S/S19 collection we looked at different conflicts and in one section, ‘Sinful and Innocent’, we explored how the law, society and religion judge and link people’s morality and sexuality based on their age and marital status,” Findikoglu explains as to why the charity was her first choice. “We wanted to raise awareness of how women and girls are mistreated and forced into lives they didn’t choose. I found out about World Human Relief through my sister-in-law who is close with the organisation. When I heard that they work on so many of the issues that I care about, I knew I had to include it in my work and support them.”

In celebration of Chapter 1, Findikoglu chose three collaborators – musician and actress Soko, RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Violet Chachki and writer Susie Lau – to raise awareness on their own Instagram accounts by wearing the T-shirts. “Soko just had a baby on her own and to me that epitomises what a strong woman is. Susie is also a mother, who is constantly working and very busy, but seeing her and her daughter together on her Instagram is really inspiring to me,” Findikoglu says of her choices. “Violet has been collaborating with us for a while now, I feel that through their performance they convey this strong female power that promotes inclusivity.”

The T-shirt itself – worn by Findikoglu herself in the Joan of Arc-inspired campaign – finds its roots in the designer’s own Turkish heritage, the chain and crescent moon updating a style which has appeared in previous collections. “We looked at harem culture how the women were treated in these times. For our show, we did our own version and put boys in harem clothes to question gender politics,” she says. “Through my clothes I want to empower women and make them feel as though they can do whatever they want, and be whoever they want to be.”

Dilara Findikoglu’s cone bra T-shirt is available exclusively on her website, with a percentage of sales going to the World Human Relief Project.