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Off the cuff design

By Xu Junqian in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-30 07:38

Off the cuff design

Off the cuff design

Istanbul designer Begum Kiroglu is well known (among those in the know) for men and women's wear cufflinks.

The 27-year-old based in Shanghai has been making cufflinks for a couple of years now.

"Cufflinks used to be one of the few accessories exclusive to men, but I found most of them very mundane and single style," Kiroglu says.

From an Ottoman art collecting family, Kiroglu was inspired to make unisex cufflinks when she failed to find the perfect pair for her brother, who was to be married.

Instead of compromising the designer decided to create her own - a pair of cufflinks combining craftsmanship and modern elements.

Her uncle, an art historian, helped her find her an atelier in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul to get her started.

Supported by six craftsmen, the graduate of Shanghai Fudan University made not only a gift for her brother, but also started a business.

The first collection was well received, which Kiroglu says was a surprise because cufflinks are so rare these days.

Her cufflinks, priced between 1,200 and 2,800 yuan ($195-455) a pair are now sold in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Dubai.

Forty percent of her customers are women, although she says it's hard to tell if they are buying for themselves or their husbands or boyfriends.

However, to the delight of Kiroglu, she believes more women are matching her cufflinks with dresses, tweed jackets or buying two different pairs and wearing one from each pair together with their husbands.

Her "signature piece" from the 60-pair-or-so collection, is The Dome, inspired by the Suleiman the Magnificent Mosque in her hometown. But the animal designs, featuring lifelike bees, frogs and flies are more popular.

All cufflinks are handmade by Turkish artisans out of bronze, silver, or 24-karat gold. And it takes about two weeks to craft a pair of customized cufflinks.

Off the cuff design

Covering the stars 

Off the cuff design

Models walk, money talks 

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