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Five minutes with Supertrash founder Olcay Gulsen
Olcay Gulsen, also known as OJ, launched fashion label Supertrash when she was just 21. Today, the label is sold in 24 countries across Europe and America and tomorrow, the first store is opening in London. We asked Olcay to spill the beans on the secret behind her success and to tell us her hot fashion tips for the next two seasons.
You’re launching your first store in London in tomorrow. Exciting times...
Yes, we recently opened in New York and tomorrow we're opening at 55 South Molton Street, just off London's Oxford Street.
To those who don't know the label, what is Supertrash all about?
It's a very young, fresh, dynamic brand for young ambitious women who think they’re careers are important, who travel a lot, who are ambitious... we're aimed at the modern confident woman who knows what she wants to achieve in her life and is willing to work hard to get there. Of course she also loves going out and having exciting times.
Describe the label in three words
Elegant, feminine with a touch of sexiness and edge (I know that's four)
London has been on the top of my list since I launched Supertrash, it's been one of my biggest dreams. The British audience has phenomenal taste in fashion and great style.
How much will a Supertrash item set us punters back?
It's not an inexpensive label but it's also very affordable. The range goes from £50 to £200, then we have some top of the range stuff which goes for £3-400. But we really want it to be affordable for everybody.
Where do you start with launching a fashion label?
For me, I had zero money at the time, so it was a very far-fetched dream. All I had was a phone and a big, big mouth. It takes a lot of guts but in a sense because I had nothing at the time, I also had nothing to lose. I didn’t have a lot of security so there wasn't a lot for me to risk in branching out on my own.
I’d never worked for anybody and was determined to sell myself as a successful young girl (even though I wasn’t at the time!) and I had no network and no financial means.
It’s hard for young people to go through that but my big break was getting through to one of the biggest retail chains in Holland. I had a meeting with Marcel Van Gelderen, the owner of Men at Work, which was a big chain with around 40 stores at that time, and he became one of our biggest customers. We just clicked and I think he wanted to help me because I was a young person and he wanted to give someone a chance. It's a sentiment I carry through to my own team today, wanting to hire young talented people. Talent means more than education to me.
Who influences you in style terms?
There are a lot of iconic people that I look up to who have great style – I’m obsessed with Alexander Wang right now because he’s so young and he’s built this company so quickly. I don’t like fashion to be too designed or too serious because style is so much more than that, it's more emotional. Ever since I was young I’ve always loved Coco Chanel too, because she’s a crazy genius. She launched one of the world's biggest and most beautiful brands – and for a woman to achieve that while living in that time zone, when it was hard for any woman to do anything in such a serious business - is remarkable. She’s one of my all time heroes.
What’s going to be hot for the party season this year?
I would definitely not go for a dress. Instead go for a tuxedo – I love menswear on women right now. Buy a structured tuxedo jacket with matching pants and a sexy top to keep it very feminine - and please wear stilettos to complete this look! That's a really sexy outfit.
And for spring/summer next year?
Black and white is going to be the biggest trend out there for spring/summer next year, lots of lazer cut outs and layering. Everything is going all back to basics – classic colours - but that’s a little bit too boring for me, so I’ve added loads of colour to my collection.
Who’s the most stylish celeb in your opinion?
I tend to admire normal people walking down the street wearing a crazy cool style. It’s very easy for a celebrity to look good because of their financial means - and they get sent everything - but for someone to just work their style each day on the street, that I find really appealing.
How does America compare to the UK in style terms?
What I love about London is the big hipster vibe and the real mix of style between vintage and new. In America it’s much cleaner and newer, but the UK is a little bit more natural with a more heritage feel, because it is a country that has a heritage. When I'm looking for style inspiration - I always come to London.
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