Züleyha Özgen is a 28-year-old Fashion Designer based in Berlin – she founded the brand Zsolea back in 2019. She started dreaming about becoming a fashion designer at a very young age but it took her a long time to make the first step towards achieving that dream. She worked for about 5 years in fashion retail where she gained a lot of experiences related to the industry before she finally decided to study fashion design at the age of 25. She eventually quit her job to become an intern for a fashion designer in Berlin and up to now, she feels that the move she made was the best decision she’s ever made.
Sassy & Co magazine recently caught up with Züleyha to discuss her journey in the fashion industry and here’s what went down:
What do you like most about being a designer?
What I adore about being a fashion designer is that you don’t have to stick to any rules. I can put my creativity, feelings, and personality in one design to express my understanding of fashion.
The downside to being a fashion designer?
When you are working all by yourself, like in my case it’s not that easy to be constantly creative and productive. You need breaks, especially creative breaks so that new ideas new inspiration can arise. These times are always the hardest, you are trying but you have the feeling that nothing is working out as you imagine. It took me a long time to find the right handling for that.
What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?
The most memorable experience in the fashion industry so far was the time I had as an intern abroad in Barcelona. I had the chance to participate in fashion week Barcelona. It was my first time behind the scenes of a fashion week. Everything was new and so exciting. Professional models, successful brands, the location, and organisation. A lot of new impressions and a great experience.
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
The most interesting person I have met so far related to fashion is Olga. She is a fashion designer of the brand Menchen Thomas. She was like a role model for me. Although things were not working out she was calm and still spread positivity. I remember that I was asking her how she can be that calm in difficult situations and still make jokes and things like that. She told me that we always have the decision of how we react to this kind of situation. When everything goes wrong why adding more negativity with being angry or making more pressure. When the team is fine and in a good mood you can conquer every fence together.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is from nothing comes nothing. Even if it’s 10 minutes you are putting into your business or your self you should take that time. Every day doing at least one thing will open new doors. That’s what I’ve experienced.
Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?
My family is my biggest supporter. I’m so thankful for that. They believe in me sometimes more than I’m doing, to be honest. To know that I have such a supportive family gives me strength and motivates me.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
I think there is nothing I would do differently because every experience and lesson lead me to this day. I’m still learning and I’m still making mistakes and I’m fine with that, this makes my work more personal and authentic I guess.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
That small steps are important and okay. It takes time to get where you want to be. How you get there is more important than when you get there.
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
My future plans are growing in the fashion industry as an upcoming fashion designer from Berlin. I would love to show my work all over the world and see people wearing my visions.