We had the good fortune of connecting with Meçlâ Soyer-Kaplan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Meçlâ, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
To be completely honest, I’ve always hoped I would run my own business and design my own clothing line one day. I learned how to be an entrepreneur from my Father who owned a successful manufacturing business after immigrating to the United States from Turkey. I spent several years waiting for the right opportunity as I worked in the fashion industry for several businesses to gain the experience I needed to start my company. I knew that my combined experience of working in NYC, LA, and Denver would benefit me when the time was right. When it comes to my thought process of starting my business, I knew I wanted to start small to create a seasonless, modern collection that was also ethically made. I knew I wanted to work with natural fibers and run a clothing business that produces very little waste. I also love my Denver community and wanted to connect with them by providing clothing that is fashionable as well as locally made.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
A few months ago, I rebranded and named the company after my grandmother Meçlâ, who is also my namesake. Through this rebrand, I rediscovered my passion for my Turkish heritage and I have recently added a collection designed with handwoven Turkish fabric. This recent rebrand gave more meaning to my business because it connects me to my Turkish identity and I’m able to express my creativity through the use of these beautiful cotton textiles. My favorite is Sile Cloth, which has been washed with sea water and dried on the beach to give it it’s unique curly texture. I bring up this recent rebrand because the biggest challenge I had as I developed was digging deep to find the “why”. It was so hard and it also felt vulnerable to peel back all the layers to show people who I am as a designer as well as share my personal identity. So much of my identity is wrapped up in the loss of my father and also the rediscovery of my Turkish lineage. My hope and dream is to work and live part-time in Istanbul to have the opportunity to reconnect with my family. Being able to share this with my community and invite them along on the journey is important to me. Eventually, I became more comfortable with sharing a slow, step by step, imperfect process with the world around me which has helped me build the supportive relationships I have with my friends and customers. It’s the relationship with my community that I’m most proud of.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of the things I love about Denver is what each neighborhood has to offer. I would divide our tour accordingly starting with East Colfax. I’ve always been obsessed with the history and it’s interesting to see how it’s evolving. A few places I would take them is Voodoo Donuts, shopping at Queen City General Store and Studio Colfax, and then we would grab a dinner at The Ethiopian Restaurant. I would also hope to take them to a show at one of the historical music venue’s, the Fillmore Auditorium, Ogden Theatre, or Lost Lake Lounge. Another day I would take them to breakfast at Onefold, tour the MCA, walk over to Union station for a fancy cocktail at Cooper lounge, then walk to El five for paella and a perfect view of Denver.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First, I should give a shoutout to my family because they have made space for my business which is starting to feel like another member of our family. Also, I’m incredibly thankful for friends and local business owners Mimi Shim, Vanessa Barcus, and Courtney Parker. I would also like to recognize my very supportive childhood friend who is now a producer in LA, Grace Bellamy.
Photos by Chiara Garland