Escapes, inspirations and more with Oyku Benli of Fabula&Tales

1. Tell us briefly about the identity and philosophy of your brand? How is it inspired and influenced by the cornerstones of the store this summer, craft, culture & creativity? 

Our brand’s true essence comes from story: in each piece we create, we are reflecting our interpretation of inspirations from unique surroundings such as colour vibrance, authentic architecture and distinct craftsmanship around the world. We have an aspect of creating beautiful pieces that feel unique, elegant and simple at the same time. Simplicity and elegance are the foundation & harvest of our mother-daughter collaboration. 

For us, the utmost spirit of 74 Escape store this summer was prioritization of the vast amount of culture brought up by the bridge between our unrealised precious local past and today’s artsy narrative. As such, FABULA & TALES products are inspired from the harmonisation of our rich history of craftsmanship from the grandmother, expertise of the mother & today’s creativity from myself. 

2. How is it tied to travel?

The concept of travel is creating stories in various parts of the world; experiencing locality, being part of differences and embracing similarities between cultures that feed our being, our soul. Our brand’s philosophy: arts, is the final product of our fed soul and the expression of the stories formed throughout travels. 

3. For what reasons do you travel? 

Everyone would feel the trigger to escape from the hectic reality we live in once in a while in order to reconnect with our true selves. For me personally, traveling allow me to realize the value of spontaneity and the natural flow of life through the creation of unique memories with loved ones. Traveling to different geographies, sharing & being a part of another culture as well as experiencing distinct tastes pull me out of my comfort zone and broaden my perspectives about our limits in life; as such all these turn into individual inspirations of the expression for our products.  For me, whether I seek for and inspiration or a joy of sharing and creating memories, traveling gives me the opportunity to explore with an open heart and an open mind. 

4. What are some of your most unforgettable escapes that have shaped and inspired the identity of your brand?

Southern coast of Italy has been a great impact on our vision for FABULA & TALES in terms of objectivity and subjectivity of our brand. This was an escape we experienced with three generations in our family; grandparents, parents and children. In every aspect of the vacation, we realised that even though we were in the same place and were experiencing the same moments; every individual’s expression and attention to detail was different and special in terms of perspective. Hence, we observed that if the differences through generations can be embraced, the product can be a unique story itself along with the expression of what we see differently. While one of us was focusing on the history behind the craftsmanship, another one was interpreting the colour vibrance in the architecture. As such, all three of us realised that untouched beauty, preservation of the locality was what made it very special for us, it created elegant simplicity the core component for our brand. 

5. Where do you search for inspiration? 

Inspiration for me arises from moments. It can be anywhere no matter surroundings. Unique feeling of the mind, openness and curiosity are what makes the creativity for me. Of course, to be able to capture all these components, traveling is an important factor as I can just disregard the everyday stress and reconnect within myself.  I feel even inspired when I visualise a memory. First, the feeling of joy makes me want to create a physical product that would remind me of that moment specifically. Then, when I think about how the utmost product looks like, I realise that I have chosen the colours, patterns or heritage of surroundings of that specific memory as inspiration.

6. What’s one piece from your own collection that you always bring on travels?

I always carry around two pieces with me when I go on travels: one is ‘Adam and Eve’ slip-ons, they remind me of the power and influence of women as the embroidery on it is an ironic symbol of men-women relationships.  The other piece I would not forget to pack is my initial slip-ons. They feel special as on one pair I have ‘Ö’ and ‘B’ on the other. We always subconsciously choose objects, people or memories that can only belong to us as it makes us feel some sort of different; unique. 

Both of the pieces are linens and neutral colours. I usually prefer softer colours for shoes as I enjoy wearing vibrant outfits most of the time. As such, these pieces complete my colourful style whilst consisting of one-off, bespoke details on themselves. 

7. What about a piece that’s perfect for a holiday on the Turkish riviera? 

Our country has so much to offer, not only talking about our geography that unfolds through turquoise coasts and mountains, but also our heritage that got under influence by a number of different cultures throughout the history. As such it is very difficult to capture all these impeccable components in just one single product. With our ‘74 Escape X FABULA & TALES Turquoise Elephant’ slipper, we tried to best reflect the colour of our fascinating turquoise coasts along with the craftsmanship of our heritage. As all of our products are handmade, this collection was created with carefully chosen linens as well as story led figures as embroideries on top. Elephant is a symbol of good luck, memory and travels; hence it all adds up to our fable : story behind the brand for the turquoise coast (Turkish Riviera).

8. What are some of your favorite escapes here at home, hidden gems in Turkey?

I have recently visited Urla (a town in Izmir) this summer, which I got greatly fascinated of. Urla is a very on point demonstration of the varieties that our land offers in terms of flavourful wines, naturally grown vegetables, well executed restaurants, hereditary cultural influences in architecture as well as the successful preservation of humbleness.

9. Share with us one of your favorite travel memories or anecdotes…

Simple locality: whenever traveling, I am always eager to experience local places such as restaurants, cafés or little streets. ‘If you don’t see an English translation in the menu, it means that you are in the right place for a true local exposure.’ Another factor: simplicity; which is brought up by the simplest but at the same time meaningful/flavourful product or an act that a land can offer. 

10. Favorite travel film or book?

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Anthony Minghella.

11. Where are you dreaming of escaping to next? 

Machu Picchu in Peru. It has been always a mystery and fascination to me how the mankind could build these genius establishments back then. Even though the architectural techniques and knowledge seem not advanced at all; Machu Picchu is one of kind a unique testimony of the Inca Civilization’s well-planned distribution of functions within space, productive, religious and administrative organization.

12. What does traveling mean to you?

Traveling means briefly self-realization and self-reflection to me. When experienced with loved ones, it becomes a distinct memory turning into an influence for creation.