Ediz Binder of SAPAYOL

We recently spoke with Ediz Binder, the founder of SAPAYOL, a made-to-measure leather jacket company.

What inspired you to create SAPAYOL?

I saw a chance to create an incredibly intimate object, that calls for courage, determination, and adventure. I loved the idea to foster craftsmanship. And I wanted to do my part in doing fashion the right way – with care, sustainably, and under great conditions.

I personally had found an opportunity to get closer to who I want to be and I had to take it.

SAPAYOL, in Turkish, is a noun that means “the road less traveled by” – how does this concept translate to the brand’s work and products?

First of all, it's the guiding principle of why we make jackets: Each SAPAYOL jacket should encourage you to go your own way, to leave the beaten path and follow your curiosity.

When it comes to our products, it means that we constantly question every step of the process, every part, every material, until we get it right. The common way is to try to save time and money everywhere. That always leads to bad products, though. We start with the best product and service we can think of and work our way from there. We spend an extraordinary amount of time discussing the fit to get it exactly right. Our demands on our leather are so exclusive that the owner of the tannery inspects every order himself. We pay a premium to our craftsmen. We ship express because we don't want our customers to deal with customs or taxes.

Leather jackets are deeply intertwined with the history of the 20th century – that being said, what are some of the specific reference points or iconic individuals that inspired SAPAYOL’s jacket designs?

It's not that a particular celebrity, movie, or character had a specific effect on me and the designs. Growing up in Switzerland, I've been surrounded with clean, functional, minimal design (whether that's in graphic design, furniture, or architecture) and that resonates a lot with me.

How long did it take to develop the brand and its numerous jacket models? What was this process like?

At this point it's important to mention that I knew absolutely nothing about leather jackets, tailoring, or fashion in general before 2015. I had only worked in media and marketing until then. That means I had to start from scratch with everything. I spent all of 2015 with learning about leather jackets, types of leather, tanning methods, understanding how clothes are made, what players are involved (I didn't know what a pattern maker was, for example), finding a production partner, sourcing suppliers and materials, designing a website, and shooting images and videos for it.

At the end of 2015, we went live with our first model, the Bleecker, in black.

SAPAYOL is funded by my limited personal savings – there is no foreign investment or credit – which has a big impact on how fast we move in the process. I knew at launch that I wanted to offer three additional styles, but we had to wait a year before we could add the E-161, Mott, and Linden. In spring 2018, we started to offer brown leather.

One of the defining characteristics of SAPAYOL is that you offer made-to-measure jacket customization. What motivated you to offer this as opposed to set size runs?

Your SAPAYOL jacket should be as personal as possible, so made-to-measure is just the logical conclusion. And we all know that fit is the most important thing in a garment. Standard sizes don't make any financial sense in our case, they wouldn't have a significantly lower price and we can ship our made-to-measure jackets to our customers within two weeks after their order. There's no benefit for the customer.

Currently, SAPAYOL offers a number of different design and color variations. How did you determine these offerings?

The goal was to offer our take on the most timeless leather jacket styles. As I've explained a little earlier, we set the foundation with the Bleecker, our interpretation of a double rider, and then moved on to three more styles and after that to a dark whiskey color. SAPAYOL is extremely young and we're taking things gradually.

We want a concise offer that still gives our customers the ability to get a jacket that matches their character.

Each jacket design takes cues from classic leather jacket designs, yet they retain a modern, refined aesthetic. Can you explain your process in refining/readapting some of these classic designs into your jackets?

Mostly, it's a process of subtraction. What purpose does this element of the jacket have? Does it serve a practical function? Is it elementary to the character of a style? Can we get rid of it? Can we make it more simple? And of course, we have a certain fit, certain proportions that we're going after.

Looking ahead, where do you see SAPAYOL in the next few years?

Everyone that wants to add a truly special leather jacket to their wardrobe should have heard of SAPAYOL and know that they're getting unrivaled quality and service from us. We will certainly offer 1-2 more colors in the near future. Our focus is to deliver one great jacket at a time and inspire our customers to be their best.

Check out SAPAYOL: sapayol.com

Images via SAPAYOL.

Damian M.

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