Welcome to our latest edition of Our Featured Maker: Kokarcia and the fantastic family duo behind the brand Gaye & Grazia. Freshly launched here at Nurture Collective we are super excited to welcome you aboard.
Tell us about your story behind Kokarcia and how and when it first started?
Kokarcia is a newborn project of a Turkish & Italian family. The inspiration comes after the birth of my now 20-months son Kerem. I was not happy with what the usual brands were offering and wanted to dress him with something more unique and sustainable. I was lucky enough to have a creative and talented mother-in-law Grazia who designs our Kokarcia dresses, at the beginning only for Kerem and then for our friends’ kids. Exactly a year ago we attended for the first time a local market in Milan to present our creations also to other parents who share our same values, and they have been very much appreciated. Since then we continue making hand-crafted, unique clothes for unconventional kids.
What inspires you when you design your clothes?
Once I met a father buying a skirt for his 3-year old in a local market. He said that our dresses look like coming out of a nostalgic fairy tale. I think this was the best compliment we have heard so far and explains well what inspires us.
Overall, we love colourful and floral designs. This is why we often use traditional Turkish fabrics. We like to combine these vintage-inspired clothes with more modern patterns and create stunning designs. We challenge gender stereotypes by using flowers also on boy’s dungarees. We encourage kids to wear what they actually like, be free and creative.
We love the eco-conscious upcycling element to your pieces as it really adds to the story of the garment, was this planned or something that just happened?
It actually came very naturally. When we started making clothes for Kerem only, instead of buying new fabrics we used what we had at home, pieces of fabrics or old dresses. I believe that it’s a real waste to purchase everything new especially considering that sometimes they can wear it only once or twice. We also like the surprise effect of upcycling. Let’s say we find somewhere an old curtain, a second-hand shirt and some unsold samples of a more significant production. We cut, mix & match them to create a new combination. This is why each Kokarcia item is unique; there is no second one of the same.
Let’s talk about your chosen Nurture Collective icons why you chose them and which ones mean the most to you?
Recycled/Upcycled: This is our starting point. Even though not all of our clothes are 100% recycled anymore, it became our attitude in Kokarcia. We’re always cautious about what we buy and to avoid waste.
Artisan Craft: The only new fabric we buy right now is the traditional Turkish clothes. We do this not only because we love the design, but also we want to support this traditional craft which has diminished a lot recently.
Handmade: In our case, it’s actually mama and grandma maker. I could not imagine myself making kids clothes before becoming a mom. Sometimes it becomes tough to work when your kid is around, but on the other hand, without him, I would be doing something entirely different!
What are the next steps for Kokarcia?
We’re working on an alternative collection for spring/summer using predominantly a light cotton traditional Turkish fabric. We have never used this fabric previously, so it really excites us. It has beautiful vibrant colours and gorgeous floral patterns.
Your Favourite Inspirational Quote:
“Buy less, choose well, make it last” by Vivienne Westwood
Nowadays the Turkish fabric called “Pazen” which we use in our winter clothes. It’s 100% cotton and it keeps you very warm.
What’s your Bestseller?
Our Pazen dresses with a tulle
Available at Nurture Collective now.
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