Here is how Bilge Can tells that story:
“Grandma had an antique wedding chest, which, for me, was the ultimate treasure trove. If I kept begging, she would open it and allow me to explore its contents. Only if I promised to handle everything with care. Under all the antique textiles, lace brooches, embroidered duvets and pillowcases, crochet curtains, satin nightgowns, and hand-painted porcelain sets, deeper into the wooden chest, was the one family heirloom that enchanted me more than anything: a stunning pair of hand-embroidered shoes... I was told that the shoes used to belong to a very special maternal family member named Zehra Aylin. Miss Zehra was one of the beloved adopted children of Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. This young girl, who was born in the Black Sea region, had eventually died on her way back to Turkey from London while she was traveling on the Callais-Paris express. My grandma used to tell me that when I grew up, that pair, which she called “the palace resident,” would be mine. Years later, those petite, delicate slippers did become mine, but unfortunately, they were a bit small for my feet. The timeless elegance of those hand-embroidered slippers would stay with me for a lifetime and become my biggest inspiration for creating my fashion brand, AnatolianCraft. I knew that one day, I would design the heritage slippers I longed to wear.”
And that is exactly what Bilge did!
As an experienced architect, she had an eye and an advanced skill set for great design. Besides, she had been a passionate embroiderer from an early age. In pursuit of her dream of making the embroidered heritage shoes that enchanted her as a little girl, Bilge founded AnatolianCraft in 2016. Since then, she has been bringing her design sensibilities as well as her knowledge of color and texture into each AnatolianCraft design, treating each product like a work of art, informed by the nature and history of the land she calls home.
Browse our shop to find the pair that makes your heart sing.
Read our manifesto to find out what we preach and practice.
Explore how our products are made and why it takes so long to create a pair of embroidered shoes.
Enjoy this interview with Bilge Can and find out about her intriguing life story.
Meet our team and discover the roots of this labor of love called AnatolianCraft—our beloved small business with big dreams. 🙂
Let’s be in touch!
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