Melis was fortunate enough to visit friends and family in Cesme, the Turkish town that she and her sister Melda grew up in, over the summer. And we are fortunate enough to get a peek into the slow and easy life they lead in Turkey.
Where in Turkey did you travel to and what brought you there?
We always go to Cesme, Izmir which is our hometown. We stay in the home that my sister Melda and I grew up in.
What really brought us there was visiting family and old friends—it was a gift to us to be able to relive our childhood and teenage years by spending the days in their company.
Give us a day-in-the-life snapshot of how you spend your time in Cesme. From the time you wake up to when you go to sleep, what is your daily routine?
We start our day with a traditional Turkish breakfast with family, which consists of: olives, cucumbers, cured meats, dips and sauces, eggs, fresh cheeses, fresh tomatoes, fresh-baked bread, fruit preserves and jams, honey, pastries, and sweet butter. We spend an enormous amount of time—probably close to two hours—around the breakfast table, eating and chatting. My mom makes Turkish coffee immediately after the meal.
Then we get ready for the beach and spend all day with the kids on the sandy and crystal clear Aegean Sea until sunset. Our friends and family members enjoy it with us. The beach is our meeting point with everyone. Then we head home, and get ready for a lively night on the town.
How does this differ from your daily routine in the states?
It's an easy life. Here in the United States we always rush things but in Turkey we slow down and really enjoy the beauty around us with family and friends.
What are some examples of how Turkish culture differs from American culture?
Turkish people love to be surrounded by many friends and family. When you go to a restaurant or family dinner, you are always surrounded by big groups on the table. Here in the United States, we notice that people choose to live more privately and you see more couples or small groups when you’re out to eat.
Breakfast and dinner are very important in Turkish culture. We all sit down at a big table, eat, drink and talk for hours and hours. They really enjoy food, eat slowly and connect more. Here in states, food culture is quick. You go to a restaurant and you are done max in one hour. It really makes me uncomfortable when the server rushes the dining experience, and brings the check right after you finish your food. That would be considered rude in Turkey.
Are there any specific sites or hangout spots you need to spend time at while visiting?
I would love to discover Turkey more, and visit different cities that I have never been to before and experience the small village life.
What is your favorite Turkish food? Is there something you need to eat or somewhere you always have to eat while you’re in Turkey?
We eat lots of fresh fish like branzino, red mullet, calamari with small mezze dishes. My favorite mezza plate is “Atom” which is a garlic yogurt served with fried red hot pepper.
How does visiting your home country inspire your work?
The Crystal clear water, history, small villages, living the simple life of my home inspire us every time we go to visit.
Are there going to be any new designs, styles, or items we can expect to see soon after this trip?
We are working on new products launching on SS23. They are still in the process. Once we have the samples we'll share more sneak peeks with you! :)