Mahmoud Aryan is a master artisan specialized in tailoring and sewing. He is from Aleppo, where he got married and raised four kids. In Aleppo, he worked as a tailor in an atelier for decades, working for customers in Armenia, France and Italy. In 2014, Mahmoud and his family made the decision to leave Syria for Turkey. They lived in a refugee camp for four years, before moving to Kilis in southeastern Turkey, where he now works as a tailor for a Turkish company and Østerland. Mahmoud says: “I love my work and when I create a jacket or a piece for a customer, and I see that piece on my customer, I always become so happy.”
Yusuf Mekikci was born in 1971 in the Turkish province of Gaziantep. He is the fourth generation to take over craft at the family business. For Yusuf, working with kutnu is not only about preserving the art of weaving, but it's also about presenting a piece of history that has been brought to Turkey from Syria in the 16th century. Yusuf says “The last decade, we have seen an increasing interest in the kutnu textile from fashion designers around the world. It makes me so proud and happy to see the kutnu textile in different styles and designs on the international market.”
Nehla was born in the Turkish mediterranean city of Antakya right at the border to Syria. She has completed primary school and speaks Turkish and Arabic. Nehla’s interest in craft started at an early age. She has been embroidering and doing crochet for the last 30 years.
Rainhana Khair ul Sadat
Yılmaz Büyükaşık is the proud owner of an atelier that has been promoting hand-loom weaving since the early 1900s. The family learned the skills of silk and cotton weaving from the Armenians in Syria and has been producing silk and cotton since 1936 in Hatay, Turkey, right at the border to Syria. Yilmaz has participated in many exhibitions in Turkey to promote this age-old wisdom of craftsmanship.
Ramya is from Syria and was working as a secretary for a construction company in Aleppo. Before the war, Ramya was studying Law at Aleppo University, however, when the war broke out she had to pause her studies. With the ongoing conflict, Ramya and her family fled to Turkey and lived in a refugee camp for four years before settling in Kilis, right at the border to Syria. At present, Ramya is producing crochet necklaces as a side business inspired by everything that is around her.