Feb 27, 2024jamie lewis

We first met Ayca Kilicoglu at West Coast Craft Fair Los Angeles in December 2019. Setting up shop across from her booth, we were immediately drawn to her beautiful silk scarves detailed with her bright and whimsical patterns. It was love at first sight for the both of us at the Tailored Union booth, and we each left the show with a scarf in hand. Fast forward to today where we are thrilled to announce the launch of our second sock collaboration, between Tailored Union X MŪR BY AYCA! 

Ayca Kilicoglu is a designer, illustrator, and educator based in San Francisco, California. She launched her art brand in 2019 after graduating from the Academy of Art University. Known for her hand-drawn, colorful, and playful silk scarves and bandanas, she finds inspiration everywhere to design collections that ooze energy and joie de vivre. Through collaborations spanning museums, movies, kitchenware, and coffee brands, Ayca Kilicoglu loves bringing joy and vibrant prints to life. Read on to learn more about MŪR BY AYCA and her artist approach to not only art but life.

What does creativity look like to you and how do you find inspiration?

Creativity, for me, isn’t just a skill or a profession; it’s a way of life. Whether I’m designing a new pattern, product or adding my personal touch to everyday objects, creativity permeates every aspect of my existence. I find inspiration everywhere, particularly in the pages of books and the details of everyday objects. Incorporating creative processes into my daily routine is second nature. Whether it’s jotting down ideas in my sketchbook or experimenting with new techniques in my studio, I prioritize nurturing my creative spirit in both my personal and professional endeavors. This approach not only fuels my artistic growth but also ensures that every project I undertake bears the unique imprint of my creativity.

How has your Turkish heritage influenced your perspective on the world, and in what ways does it inspire your creative process?

My Turkish heritage goes beyond mere ethnicity; it’s a reflection of the diverse tapestry of cultures and traditions that define Turkey’s rich cultural mosaic. I embrace not only my own background but also the cultural diversity of all communities, regardless of religious, ethnic, or political differences. To me, being Turkish means cherishing the collective heritage that makes our nation unique and celebrating the cultural richness that unites us all. 

Can you tell us a little bit about artwork/designs for the sock collection and inspiration behind it?

For my sock collection, I draw inspiration from a multitude of sources, weaving together elements of nature, animals, and abstract concepts. Each design is expressed through bold and expressive colors that capture the vibrancy of life. From intricate patterns to whimsical motifs reminiscent of wildlife. Through my artwork, I aim to evoke a sense of connection to nature and ignite joy in those who wear my creations.

What inspired you to create your newest line of silk scarves, the Capsule Collection? How do you decide on the theme for your collections?

The inspiration behind my newest line of silk scarves, the Capsule Collection, stems from the desire to encapsulate a singular narrative through a series of interconnected designs. Each scarf in this collection is imbued with a cohesive flow, characterized by a distinct color theme and abstract shapes that evoke a sense of expressive movement. The main concept driving this collection is to showcase colors in a vivid and dynamic manner, creating a visual spectacle when worn as a scarf. The name “Capsule” reflects the unique style and concept of this collection, distinguishing it from my previous collections and encapsulating its singular and cohesive design narrative.

What is your favorite style from your collection?

I love the cheetah print, but it’s one of my favorite prints even when it’s a bandana. The Green Zebra is irresistible to me, though. And I think the cats are so cute. I also love the single-color Flowers print. You can wear it with a simple outfit, and it will still be subtle but will add a touch of fun and motion to the whole look.

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style can be described as a harmonious blend of minimalism and maximalism. While I gravitate towards maximalist styles in my work, I adopt a minimalist approach in my personal style and home decor. It’s almost as if my brain unconsciously seeks to balance the two extremes, ensuring a perfect balance. This contrast allows me to appreciate the intricacies of bold designs in my professional endeavors while finding serenity in simplicity in my everyday life.

What inspired your artistic path and where did you get started? When did you know you wanted to pursue art full time?

Colors and patterns have always been integral to my life, stemming from my upbringing in an artistic household. My maternal grandfather was an art teacher, my maternal grandmother a tailor, and my other grandmother a skilled crafter. My mother, inspired by her family, pursued sewing at night school, supplementing her knowledge of clothing design from her mother. Their creativity deeply influenced me from a young age. I’ve cherished drawing since childhood. As I matured, I aspired to study art, but entry to art schools in Turkey was challenging. Doubt crept in, leading me to pause my creative pursuits for years while pursuing public administration and economics. However, my passion for art rekindled over time, prompting a career shift from finance to art. After graduating from the Academy of Art here in San Francisco, I had a chance to explore and work as a freelance graphic designer at multiple design firms. As much as I appreciated my time there, I felt like something was missing. I realized that I needed to focus on creating my own vision. Mur blossomed from this realization. My company name is inspired by my mother’s name, who passed away from breast cancer when I was young. I wanted to keep her spirit and name alive within my business since she was such a creative person.


What subjects or concepts do you explore in your creative work? What does your process of designing prints look like? 

I explore a wide range of subjects and concepts, including nature, culture, emotions, personal experiences, power dynamics, women’s empowerment, and the pursuit of freedom. My creative process involves experimentation with various techniques and mediums to bring these subjects and concepts to life in visually engaging ways.

Why scarves?

Scarves, much like a canvas or a blank sheet of paper, offer endless creative possibilities for me to express my artistic vision. The flowing fabric of scarves allows for fluidity and movement, enhancing the visual impact of the prints. 

Who are some of your favorite artists/designers and why?

I love the work of many artists and designers, ranging from contemporary artists to designers and artists from earlier times. The first person that comes to mind is Matisse. I admire his unique sense of rhythm and harmony, as well as the energy, colors, and timeless beauty present in his works. My recent favorite designer is Asli Filinta from Turkey. Her vision and dedication to preserving and celebrating Turkish culture resonate deeply with me. I admire her commitment to providing support and opportunities for young Turkish women to express themselves and be heard in a meaningful way. Her focus on sustainability in fashion is commendable, as she strives to create designs that not only empower but also contribute to a more environmentally conscious industry. Her vision goes beyond fashion, encompassing a broader mission of empowerment, cultural appreciation, and sustainability.

Do you derive different forms of inspiration when creating different types of goods, such as textiles versus kitchenware?

Yes and no. While I find inspiration from various sources for both textiles and kitchenware, the specific forms of inspiration can vary. For textiles, I may draw inspiration from nature, art, or cultural elements, while for kitchenware, I might be inspired by functionality, practicality, and the culinary experience. However, there are also instances where my inspiration transcends these categories, as creativity knows no bounds.

Do you have advice for other aspiring artists?

Find your motivation. Have the courage to keep going. Don’t compare yourself to others; instead, measure your progress against your past. Embrace the uniqueness of your path and make it an adventure worth living! Do not be afraid to ask for help and help others.

Do you have some inspiring quotes that guide you or that you live by?

So many. I will give you the first one I thought of by Helena Bonham Carter. “I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.”

What do you find most fulfilling about your creative pursuits?

The most rewarding part of my creative endeavors is feeling the texture of the products I design and witnessing the happiness they bring to people. It’s truly gratifying to be able to turn my passion into a way of making a living.

Your bandana was featured on “The Bear TV Series” aired on Hulu. What was the inspiration behind it and what are some of your favorite features of the design? How did that collaboration come about?

I designed a pattern called “We Are Stronger Together” during the Black Lives Matter movement, which inspired another design, this pattern, with slight differences. My husband works in the food/wine industry and was eagerly anticipating the show’s release day. When we started watching the TV show, Sidney was wearing a bandana from the first episode. I thought to myself, “I wish she were wearing Mur by Ayca.” Then, in the 5th episode, to my great surprise and delight, she was wearing a bandana from my collection. It was a wonderful moment for me.

What should we expect to see from you this year, anything exciting in the works or any goals for 2024?

There are always goals, whether they’re small or big. I’m particularly excited about fostering more collaborations with like-minded peers, and there are new partnerships on the horizon. I am especially thrilled about our new collection with you and SFMOMA for this spring. Additionally, I aspire to expand my line to different products, and I’m actively working towards making this vision a reality this year.

Where can people find out more about you?

Website: www.murbyayca.com

Insta: murbyayca

Shop the MŪR BY AYCA Collection!


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