Brand Stories – A Social Enterprise Brand: INCOMPLIT

Marka Hikayeleri – Bir Sosyal Girişim Markası: INCOMPLIT - vitruta

We interviewed Öykü Özgencil, the founder of the social enterprise brand INCOMPLIT, which creates its collections inspired by the imagination and stories of disadvantaged children.


First of all, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am Öykü, the founder and researcher of INCOMPLIT. I try to understand the issues I think about by coming together with different communities, while also discovering unknowns about myself. INCOMPLIT was a very personal dream from the very beginning. It constantly changed as I matured and changed. I can't even say 'brand' right now. Since I set out for this dream about 5 years ago, I have never had a full-time teammate other than me. I am currently walking alone. This expands my usual playing field even further. Even though I often say we when answering interview questions, INCOMPLIT sounds like my nickname now :)

In short, after graduating from Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne University, Department of Public Studies, I completed the Marketing graduate program at UC Berkeley to challenge my own nature and push Öykü's comfort zone at that time. When I returned to Turkey, I founded INCOMPLIT with the urge to create social impact in the system.

INCOMPLIT, which is actually a design studio rather than a women's clothing and fashion design brand, is a brand that should be inspired by its prioritized values. Can you tell us a little about your founding story?

In fact, INCOMPLIT is like an organism that constantly changes skin. Sometimes it can turn into a design studio, sometimes an art initiative, and sometimes an artist. The only thing that remains constant is a deep research into social and ecological issues and a passion for dialogue with the communities affected by these issues. Then, to share the outputs of the research and dialogue processes through creative production.

First of all, although I did not like using this term, I set out to work with 'disadvantaged' children and share their outputs through fashion design products. The main idea here was to use the communication power and accessibility of fashion to spread the issue we are talking about and produce solutions. In a sense, we turned fashion consumption into a fund to continue the workshops we designed for the children we met. However, the importance we gave to ecology in this process enabled us to prioritize sustainability not only socially but also ecologically. Whatever our outputs were, they were equally sensitive to nature and humans throughout the entire process. We also donated our profits to NGOs that enable us to meet children.

On the one hand, the fact that fashion design is a female-dominated discipline enabled us to meet and hear from different producer women communities during production. With this awareness, the focus of the communities we meet has evolved to 'children and women'. Currently, I can describe INCOMPLIT as a creative studio focused on textiles and community. I can express my inner feelings not only with a fashion design collection, but also with a book and a work produced for the design biennial.

Incomplit-Mag (3)

Can you tell us a little about the workshops and initiatives you carry out under the umbrella of INCOMPLIT?

As INCOMPLIT, we design thematic workshop series for different NGOs and cooperatives. These themes can range from underwater life to gender equality. In fact, the aim is to hear the voice of the community we meet in a humane dialogue environment and to exchange ideas with them on some issues. I can say that we are designing a process of discovery together, not a didactic education. Meanwhile, artists from different disciplines accompanying us add an even more polyphonic atmosphere to this process. In the end, we produce outputs to be disseminated to large communities through different media by adding the creations in the process related to the theme we are researching together.

What kind of person do you think someone who loves the INCOMPLIT brand and uses its products is like?

In my opinion, he is someone who questions the status quo and norms, investigates every living thing and even every object he brings into his life, is curious about their reality, and enjoys thinking :)

Each of his collections has different names, and they all try to draw attention to stories that need to be thought about. Can you tell us what inspired you during the naming process?

Names are actually based entirely on social or ecological themes that we will research and produce with communities. I can say that the subject and story of the workshops we worked on long before the collections we launched as the output of the processes are the source of inspiration for these names.

Incomplit-Mag (7)

Finally, you realized a project called “In Her Shoes” and produced a limited edition booties series as an outcome of this project. Can you tell us a little about the details of the project?

In Her Shoes has turned into a social art practice that emerged from the combination of points such as women's rights, invisible labor and feminist art, which I have been thinking about and researching for a long time. We had a dream of creating an environment of dialogue on femininity through handicrafts with women who are skilled in handicrafts. Due to Covid-19, this dream has undergone minor changes. It was set up around everyone's own living spaces and neighborhoods rather than a common physical space.

The project consists of research and curation about the ability of 13 different women to heal themselves through their own art production. It is a combination of two branches of handicraft arts, such as knitting and performance arts, from which feminist art draws inspiration, and at the same time, the artist meets with a meditative effect during production and 'feels good'. The booties, knitted by 6 women and each with different motifs symbolizing healing in Eastern civilizations, were interpreted by 7 female performance artists. And the result was In Her Shoes, a community-oriented art project. We wanted to make the business accessible by offering replicas of limited edition booties for sale.

Incomplit-Mag (8)

Is there a goal you dream of achieving or set for yourself for the future of your brand?

I dream of a future where we can continue the 'community-centered art practice', which is the focus of INCOMPLIT, with different communities in different physical spaces. My wish is to co-produce with more minds and learn from them.