ilkay Turk, founder of Turk & Turk
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Ilkay Turk developed a strong interest in the art world. At a very young age, her greatest influence was her mom, who instilled a strong work ethic, to always aim high, value her friendships and relationships. She was greatly supported by her family who wholeheartedly believed in her artistic ability and vision.
At the age of 19, Ilkay entered Mimar Sinan Fine Art University, one of the best in Europe as a Fine Arts student. While attending school, she earned money for paints and other art supplies working at a startup silk batik scarf company where they launched their collection with one of her paintings. Her art claimed international recognition, with many winning first and second places.
While in school, she met the love of her life, Rasit Turk, who also shared a passion for art and design. At the top of their classes, with countless exhibitions showcasing original work that garnered coverage in design publications distributed across continents, the roots were planted for what was only the beginning of bringing their dream of launching a couture line into fruition. After graduating she was armed with her entrepreneurial spirit, boundless creativity and imagination.
This didn’t come without sacrifice. Leaving behind their lives in Turkey, the young couple set off across the Atlantic to Dallas, Texas where a lack of resources did not stop the Turks from designing, creating, and showcasing their art in high-end exhibitions. They got creative!
In order to sacrifice nothing for their art, they sacrificed themselves. Rasit worked two jobs, in a kitchen and a gas station, all while attending school and Ilkay worked, dawn till dusk, on refurbishing fabrics to support their dreams. From fine art she found herself in fashion. She loves creating and fashion is an extension and art form as well. She likes to think of it as wearable art. She checks the balance between light and dark, balancing color and harmony whether on a canvas and on textiles too.
Turk and Turk has always been the story of two with its fire fueled by a labor of love, authenticity, and sacrifice. As Ilkay’s dreams grew, so did her family, and added the title of mother to her long list of esteemed accomplishments with her two beautiful daughters, Yildizay and Dunya, who both have inherited their moms love of art and creative vision.
The family later moved to Florida as a better opportunity arose. Ilkay honed her skills and blended her artistic hand skills with digital development, where she opened her own design studio and designed art for print apparel companies, selling to Chico’s, Soma, Mast, Spanx, and Full Beauty Brands and many other companies through her New York agent.
In Ilkay Turk’s design studio, amongst the handful of sample pieces, hundreds of prototypes, and thousands of sketches and illustrations, hangs an article quoting Carol Burnett: “When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go.”
Now, following the words that hangs steadfast in her studio and making good on the dream she envisioned thirty years ago, to create a couture, upscale line with authenticity, craftsmanship, and creativity only she could produce and the Turk and Turk Couture line was established 1998 in Dallas, TX.
In Summer 2018, her dreams manifested and Turk and Turk luxury silk line was born. A luxurious, high-end accessories line where each piece blurs the line between a work of art and a wearable piece. Since its debut with scarves, it has evolved to leather handbags, clutches, ruanas, and kimono jackets.
All the scarf pieces are unique, one-of-a-kind, impeccably handcrafted of either 100% silk or cashmere/modal blend with hand rolled finished edges, limited edition collections, each certified for authentication. The handbags are made of high-quality genuine leather, that can be personalized and hand painted by Ilkay herself. She has also been commissioned to hand paint for private clients. Expressing her joyful self, each piece is as aesthetic as she is.