Armaggan - Turkish textile brand in Nisantasi, Istanbul Featured

Innovative new fabrics unite history with technology

by

Turkey Editor

15 April 2011

When Armaggan first opened the doors to its opulent new 7-storey boutique in Istanbul's trendy Nisantasi shopping district, visitors were surprised to discover a brand with an extraordinary mission: that of preserving centuries-old weaving techniques to create exceptional fabrics in classic designs.

Armaggan Nişantaşı is led by a group of Turkish textile experts who are supported by the Turkish Cultural Foundation (TCF) and the Natural Dye Research, Development and Application Centre (DATU). The group operates out of an impressive laboratory in the district of Dudullu where modern technology meets historical practice. In order to build their collection of antique handlooms, the DATU team travelled throughout the region of Anatolia to source materials. These looms produce authentic Ottoman era textiles specific to certain regions. Thanks to the use of these looms, DATU textile experts have revived the nearly-extinct art of silk weaving.

The laboratory is ranked among the world’s top 10 laboratories focusing on natural dyestuffs. DATU owns the world’s largest collection of natural plant dyes. The laboratory develops new threads and dyes by dissecting old artefacts and the natural plants used in dying them, resulting in brilliant new shades and colours.

Historians agree that the silk fabrics produced by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century represent the highest level of artistry ever achieved in terms of weaving and design. It had been impossible to weave fabrics of this quality for centuries. Thanks to the support of Armaggan Nişantaşı, DATU has succeeded in producing exact replicas of Ottoman Palace Silks by analyzing samples from museums.

Just one look at these precious fabrics will reveal the level of dedication and persistence it takes to produce them. DATU also sustains the local economy by employing women from nearby districts to help the team with the traditional embroidery designs. Every process at the DATU lab is done to ensure there is no environmental impact. Natural dyes are created with young plants that have a lifespan of one to two years. The natural dyes not only give the fabrics their exquisite colouring, but also endow them with anti-bacterial properties. Armaggan NiÅŸantaşı’s designers then transform these non-toxic and environmentally-friendly fabrics into unique artisanal pieces on display for us to admire at their Nisantasi store. What we found pleasant was that each Armaggan purchase (be it a kaftan, dress, shirt, vest, handkerchief or accessory) comes wrapped in a traditional silk bundle to save you space in your suitcase!

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