Vibrant Prints, Ethically Made: Behind LAR Studio’s Colorful World

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An ode to the long-lost soul of the notorious discotheque ‘Halikarnas Disko’ in Bodrum and a magical reference to the M.C. Escher’s optical artwork, LAR Studio breathes enchanting color and wonder into the world of prints and cordially invites you into their immersive experience.  Istanbul-based, they are well-known for their vibrant and intricately designed scarves and bandanas. Hand-drawn by Laris Alara Kilimci, LAR Studio’s designs are produced in small amounts ethically in Turkey and all corners are hand hemmed by local women textile workers. LAR’s pieces are timeless, playful, and eclectic, carrying motifs and designs that fluidly move beyond time to create pieces that always stay relevant. Printed on vegan silk-like fabrics and cotton, their designs truly are statement pieces that add a welcome splash of saturation into any scene.
From classic scarves to their newest Pareo collection, LAR Studio amazes with the breadth of their exclusive stock. Including a few Hawaiian-inspired t-shirts and puffer bags to round off their portfolio, the print and design brand carries a truly inspirational ethos in their work.
JDEED talked with LAR Studio’s founder and print extraordinaire Laris Alara Kilimci about her process and the importance of ethical fashion.

By Ethan Dincer

Describe the process that goes into designing LAR’s amazingly intricate and vibrant prints. What do you draw inspiration from? Does your personal identity play any role in your designs?

All prints are a reflection of my experiences in some ways. I collect everything that gives me a vibrant feeling in my daily life and reflect it onto print canvases.

The LAR website says each piece is timeless and welcomes you into a world of play. Can you talk more about your vision behind this?

The fact that art as a form only finds itself in galleries or NFT is sad for me: I want art to be more accessible and everywhere. That is where this idea came to mind for art to be a way of life and these symbols of different reflections finding a place in everyday life. The pieces are timeless, they remind me of my grandmother’s scarf collection, they never go out of fashion, they all represent a different mood and display a style.

Describe your production process. What does it mean to you that LAR’s pieces are vegan, ethically hand-made, and produced locally in Turkey? What does sustainable and ethical fashion mean to you?

Turkey has such a tremendous source of production, from large scale to small scale production, there is big potential, and we can see that from so many brands coming out of the country. To me, I want to know where my clothes are coming from so every time I produce a new product I take it slow–I visit the production area, watch everything being made, and look into the details of the fabric and the printing quality. We do not have any fabric waste as we produce in scarcity and it’s also what makes LAR products so special. Every year we produce a collection that tells a story in a small scale and once you miss out on the product you cannot buy it again. We do not do off-season discounts and we do not follow the fast pace of trends and fashion. In the end, we stand more as a design brand and ensure the production is right before we start introducing a new variety of products. There is so much more to say about this.

What goes into considering audience for LAR’s pieces? Is there a specific person you design for?

No. LAR welcomes all who love color, print, self-expression, and authenticity. Prints have a universal language and they are a bridge to bring all humans together. We design from the heart and our customers are emotional buyers. We are a warm-hearted and playful brand, and so our customers are free-spirited, easy-going, and open-minded. One thing all LAR customers have in common is a sense of curiosity.

How has LAR Studio innovated and fared over the course of the pandemic and Turkey’s worsening economic realities, including the recent fires, in addition to many other disasters impacting the region? What were the challenges you faced and how are you reflecting on those as the world slowly reopens?

It did us good to take a pause like the rest of the world, we made a stronger connection with our loyal client base and got to know the real spirit of the brand better. I think it did all authentic brands good to take a pause. Some brands tried to adapt to the landscape and make masks etc. but we stuck to what we know and made it better, and the stories more interesting. In the end, what we are selling is not a product but more a mood, a game-changer in your everyday life, so we looked deeper into the spirit of our customers. Made playlists, got to know our loyal customer base with #friendsfolar. It has been a good time for us, we feel more adult and resilient than ever.

What is upcoming for LAR? Do you have any projects or launches we should look out for?

I don’t like telling the projects before they launch as I am a believer of ‘Nazar’. Nazar: Evil eye in Turkish. So, I can only tell you it will be ethical and playful, haha!

Discover more about LAR’s wonderful universe on their Instagram, right here!