Through the CFDA’s Fashion Incubator program, ten promising young designers are given a low-rent work space and mentorship, among other benefits. One of which, thanks to a partnership with W Hotels since September of last year, is an inspiration trip to a W Hotel location of their choice–anywhere in the world. We got a few lucky Incubator designers to chronicle their adventures for us travel diary-style, to find out just what exactly happens on an inspiration trip.
First up: the adorable and talented Daniel Vosovic!
How did you decide which W Hotel location to go to?
I’m always drawn to experiencing different cultures–the colors, textures, religion, etc. Because Istanbul is located in the tip of two countries, it contains a combination of old and young traditions–1,000-year-old mosques stand next to modern, glass structures. This is something that I wanted to see firsthand and it created a fantastic starting point for inspiration for my spring 2014 collection.
Had you ever gone on an “inspiration trip” before? If so, where?
No, not necessarily an inspiration trip, per se, but I have done a great deal of traveling. I have visited most of America, except for the northeast, and also had the opportunity to live in Florence, Italy for a few years to study. Living there allowed me to take amazing side trips throughout Europe–France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Slovakia, Russia, Germany, Greece, and Spain to name a few.
Who was on the trip with you?
I went with CR Fashion Book online editor Kristin Tice Studeman and my boyfriend Kieran.
How much planning went into the trip in terms of where you’d go, what you’d see?
I really just wanted to go to a place where I could explore. I’ve traveled a bit through America and Europe but Turkey was as far east as I’ve been, and the stories I had heard through colleagues and friends of how inspiring the place was gave me the push to give it a try! We didn’t have too much of a set schedule beforehand but relied on the W Hotel staff, “favorite places” from friends and a few websites to fill out schedules with everything from mosque visits, boat rides, market exploring, and a whirling dervish show.
Did everything go according to plan?
Unfortunately it rained the first day we arrived so plans had to be shifted, but the great thing about not having a set schedule meant that things could easily change. The traffic is also notoriously bad in Istanbul but I’m the adventurous type, and my small crew and I quickly mastered the tram which allowed for the greatest movement.
Did it feel more like vacation or work?
A little of both. I did try to relax as much as possible but it was also important to have my designer hat on at all times and truly take in the sights and experience–I never knew where inspiration would strike.
Highlight of the trip?
Being able to spend time with my boyfriend and dear friend as we explored a new city together was truly the best part. Loved ones make any experience better.
Best meal of the trip?
It’s all a blur to be honest! All I remember is a lot of side dishes, meat, and yogurt!
Where did you shop? Any recommendations?
Atelier 55 had some cool options for clothes, furniture, and various small objects. Wandering the markets is of course also a treat, but my advice would be to go in with a mission as being in a market with 4,000 carts can get a bit overwhelming.
What’s the coolest thing you brought back?
Probably a woven rug from the market and also the most exquisite hand-embroidered pillow case for my mother.
Since this was an inspiration trip, was it successful? What inspired you there and do you know yet how it might manifest in your next collection?
It was definitely a successful trip! When I returned I put everything on my inspiration board which has helped me digest the whole experience. I’m sure a modern interpretation of patterns and color combinations will make themselves known in the new collection … it’s still very much a work in progress.
Click through for more photos!