For Autumn/Winter 2020, designer Dilara Findikoglu premieres a new short film based on the ancient story of Shahmaran, a mythical creature, half-woman and half-snake
This afternoon Istanbul-born, London-based designer Dilara Findikoglu – who we have previously given the epithet of “the sorceress of British design” on account of her otherworldly outfits – premieres a new short film capturing her Autumn/Winter 2020 collection, exclusively on AnOthermag.com.
Directed by Olgaç Bozalp and styled by AnOther Magazine’s fashion director (menswear) Ellie Grace Cumming, Unite & Rise & Pray for the Mother imagines a world in which the ‘Dilara Findikoglu women’ had invaded the historical region of Mesopotamia. Shot in Turkey and featuring local models, it tells the ancient story of Shahmaran, a mythical creature, half-woman and half-snake who is found in the folklore of Iran, Anatolia, Iraq, and of the Kurds.
“The legend of Shahmaran incorporates important images and symbols regarding the status of women in society,” Findkoglu tells AnOther. “Shahmaran, who has similar traits to other Anatolian female deities, has come to be known as a sage, a healer and as a symbol of fertility and goodwill. Although she was killed by her lover. There is a strong connection between her story and the stories of other women who were killed by men. In our project, Shahmaran is being awakened to help us bring back the matriarchal energy.”
While Unite & Rise & Pray for the Mother is brimming with mythology and poetry, like much of Findikoglu’s work, it also speaks to reality, specifically issues of gender inequality and the lived experience of women around the world. The film is a response to femicide in Turkey, an issue that Findikoglu was aware of but confronted with when she returned to the country earlier this year, following the national lockdown here in the UK.
“As a designer, I always wanted to make a positive impact on the issues in the world through my designs,” she says. “I feel like I’m a storyteller and with this project, I wanted to tell the story of the victims of these awful incidents and raise awareness on this issue.”
“We launched a social media campaign recently to raise awareness of these femicides, we found out that, 440 women in 2018, 474 women in 2019 and 369 women until September were murdered by men in Turkey and after seeing these statistics it was impossible to remain silent,” she continues. “I want to keep using my voice and do anything I can for change.”
As such, the film is a testament to not only Findikoglu’s skill as a designer but her ability to tell stories and weave social and political issues thoughtfully into her clothes.
Watch the film below.
Director: Olgaç Bozalp. Styling: Ellie Grace Cumming. Hair: Hüseyin Altun. Make-up: Batuhan Sara. Art direction: Riccardo Zanola. Manifesto: Ece Ok. Video editor: Amber Isbilen. Models: Gunce Gozutok, Nora Senkal, Elif Duran, Alara Selin Murkozoglu, Sagda Gultekin. Producer: Yusuf Yagcı.