Not Just A Label – Rifat Ozbek

Rifat Ozbek was born in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 11th 1953 and brought up in a Yali on the Bosphorus. He and his family moved to London in the 70s, where he lived in a flat in Belgravia whilst studying architecture and then later, fashion at Saint Martin’s School of Art. Upon graduating in 1976, Ozbek moved to Italy where he designed for popular high street brand, Monsoon. Eight years later, he had saved enough money so establish his own company, and began presenting shows at Milan, London and Paris fashion weeks. He became known for incorporating different cultures and experimental shapes and design into his garments, using luxurious, fashionable fabrics, and a vibrant colour palette; giving him an easily recognisable style. He has been named British Fashion Designer of the Year twice, once in 1988 and once again in 1992.

His 80s collection included sarong skirts, gold chain belts, boleros and a crescent moon motif, a strong cultural collection, making his label known for designer ethnicity. He gleaned a lot of inspiration from hippie trail trips in the 70s and 80s, in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Africa. In one of his 90s collections he transformed his designs, basing them on sportswear, clubs and using an almost exclusively white colour palette, proving his creative versatility. It is his accessibility and knack for predicting and setting future trends which has kept him consistently relevant. In 1987 he launched a ready to wear collection, Future Ozbek, which, in 1995, outsold his main line by £2 million. This line has proved to be extremely popular; the collections are elegant, understated and wearable, designed for women with strong personal style and fashion know-how. Ozbek’s designs display perfectly his own creativity and quirk, a style which earned him a dedicated cult fan base.

Shop Ozbek in our collection, Rifat Ozbek Dress with Animal Print detail