We recently had the chance to chat with the dynamic sister duo behind Rumisu scarves, Deniz and Pinar Yegin. Born in Istanbul, Turkey, both sisters have an abundance of experience in design, illustration, and business in their native country and throughout the world. In 2011, they joined forces to create their whimsical and elegant line of scarves, fueled by their shared love for beauty and interest in philanthropy and ethically manufactured design that would give back to their community of origin. Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
When did you know you would become a designer?
Deniz: “I was always very into children’s clothing and toys. So I had a feeling I would go in a more naive and playful direction within design. After having studied fashion design and working as a designer for several women’s clothing brands, I realized that I was always more into the prints. And illustrating being my number one passion in life, I put two and two together and started creating my own prints.”
Pinar: “I studied economics at Harvard and finance at Wharton, and thought the adult and responsible thing to do in life was to have a ‘proper job’ and invest in a ‘respectable’ career. I treated my artistic urges as a whim, not something to be treated seriously. I thought art could only be in my life as a hobby or an extracurricular activity, yet as I moved along in my life, my dissatisfaction forced me to be honest with myself and 'come-out-of-closet' as an artist. In this sense, Rumisu and our prints are channels of self-actualization and self-expression.”
Details of the "Oh, Snap!" Scarf
What is the greatest lesson you've learned while establishing your brand?
“Always trust what your gut tells you first!”
Do you feel your relationship as sisters has helped your business?
"Our two very different educational backgrounds and personalities led us to divide and share roles and responsibilities in a natural way. We've really aimed at completing each other and being able to create the best combination."
Any new fascinations feeding your work lately?
Pinar: “Cut-out effects and collages.”
Deniz: “A mix of science fiction and organic textures. There will be our own versions of astronauts and spaceships showing up for next Fall Season.”
What wardrobe staple do you swear by?
Deniz: “Print on print on print on print. Bring on polka dots and stripes especially.”
Pinar: “Super simple-minimalistic dresses in vibrant colors that I can combine with my scarves and other accessories.”
Where in the world haven’t you gone that is at the top of your list?
Deniz: “Japan is and always has been my number 1, simply because I believe I will go crazy with joy when I finally make it there with the visual beauty and cuteness overload. As a packaging hoarder, I fear it might be a bit dangerous though.”
Pinar: “Morocco has fascinated me recently, and I am itching to go back. But I also have an incredible urge to go to India and discover that rich culture.”
Tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind your latest Expedition Africa collection. What motivated you to focus on that region?
"A family trip we took to Tanzania started it all. With it’s bright colors, incredibly lively prints, nature, and of course animals, we always gravitated towards Africa and after getting lucky enough to see it with our own eyes, the results were inevitable. Animals are always one of our favorite subjects, so after coming back from this magical place, this was our own way of thanking the region."
We understand sustainability is a focus of the brand. Could you speak to this?
“Influenced and intrigued by the crafts of our local culture, we aim to integrate these into an illustrative world. Thus, most of our scarves have a unique hand-crocheted accessory that carries forward and reminds one of the traditional Turkish art of ‘oya.' These characters and the hand-embroidered fabric cases that each scarf comes in are hand-made in Southeastern Turkey in cooperation with a UNDP project that aims to foster upward economic mobility of the region’s women.
We don’t want to add to the burden on our world. As a result we are careful in every aspect of our production. We are choosing our materials with this in mind. We prefer natural fabrics, and print with eco-friendly and certified dyes.
We are also proud to be supporting one of our favorite organizations, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the incredible elephant orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, with our “Expedition Africa” Collection. With each silk scarf sold from this collection, which also includes an elephant print inspired by the Trust, we are donating 5 Euros towards DSWT and their awe-inspiring efforts. We highly recommend for all wildlife lovers to check out their work through their very intriguing social media."
From the "Expedition Africa" Collection
Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
Deniz: “Stay true to no one else but yourself.”
Pinar: “Show up to the page, even if you have an incredible fear of blank pages.”
ENZE is proud to feature the work of the Yegin sisters and other brilliant up-and-coming Mediterranean based designers. You can view the pair's exquisite designs available on the Rumisu page of our site.
Jamie Hultgren, Enze Apparel Creative Director