German-born Burak Uyan (right), creative director of shoe label Burakuyan, explains the role Austrian fashion designer Helmut Lang has played in his life and why collaborations are so important.
As a child, you were into architecture. Did you ever consider working in that field? "It was actually my first choice, and all my studies were heading in that direction. But when I was 13 or 14 years old, I changed my mind after discovering the work of Helmut Lang. After that, I took a deep interest in fashion and, after high school, I eventually went to study womenswear at the Institute of Design Vienna [in Austria]. It's the same institution that Lang went to."
Why were you so inspired by Lang? "Back in the day, he was not only contemporary for his time, but also ahead. Silhouettes, the way he played between the masculine and feminine, and how he mixed materials and fibres … I loved the effect of it all."
What was it like working at Giambattista Valli for five years? "That stage of my life was very nice in terms of starting to build up the Giambattista Valli brand. I came on board when they were just starting to work on the second collection, so it was nice to help build the brand from scratch.
"I was in charge of many aspects, like furs, shoes and bags, which I had never done before. And that's why it was a great experience, I got to learn so many things and to refine my craft. Also the fact that I could supervise so much was very rewarding."
What motivated you to create your own shoe brand in 2009? "With Valli, I really got in touch with shoes and felt very passionate about them. In my experience, women like to try on dresses. But when it comes to shoes, it's a whole new level - they are screaming and shouting. I just love to make women happy."
You've collaborated previously with Rodarte and Roland Mouret. How was that? "I love to work with any designer, especially with two brands that are so inspiring. It's very important because you can get stuck in your own world, so it's nice to collaborate and share different ideas, opinions and point of views. You are brainstorming and it's really nice to open your mind with that approach."