IN CONVERSATION WITH HAZAL CELIK

Interview by Damla Bozoglu

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It goes without saying that Hazal's day is never the same. Her workspace and tasks shift daily. With Fatima Yamaha playing and Pino D'angio in the queue, she shared how she does her days.

You have been living in Milano for some time. What do you do for a living?

I work as a sales executive for a multi-brand showroom based in Milano where I get to juggle across the many facets and phases of some of the most exciting brands in the contemporary cultural system.

What does a work day look like for you? When do you wake up, what is the first thing you do, how do you like to spend your days? 

I am not a morning person and neither a good or easy sleeper at night although this might sound paradoxical - so waking up is not the easiest task of the day for me. Once this challenge is resolved, I head to the simplest and most fulfilling satisfaction in life; breakfast. This is the only common denominator of all my mornings; wherever I may be and whatever I may do next. I’m also trying hard to not look at my phone first thing in the morning these days, not quite successful yet but getting there.

I do not really have a classic work day – it is just divided into cycles within the year. During fashion week and sales campaigns (which takes over our lives 4 times a year now due to the ever-increasing pace of the system), we are talking about 12 hour workdays, a lot of small talk, so many encounters, problem solving and satisfactions. A lot of strange interactions and a lot of stimulations as well of course! 

Then, during the rest of the year, it is much more organizational and office-based operational work which revolves around Skype and mails. Although also here, I could not identify a monotonous routine, everything just evolves organically and daily.

What is the best time of the day to work for you? 

This is tough to answer because I had convinced myself that I was a night-owl for almost all of my life and as years pass by and I get older and unfortunately not wiser, I feel like I am just more powerful and efficient in the mornings.

There is constant change in every human being - I guess I just adapt in the meantime and find the efficiency in the moment, which is much more complicated than finding the best time of work during the day.

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“Translating your ideas into action is the hardest part of any journey and I am trying to learn the best way to do that for myself.”

With your schedule, it must be hard to plan your day around your preferences. Do you believe in planning? Do you have a schedule? 

I am very pro-planning, scheduling and writing everything down. With the overflow of information all around us, it becomes difficult to remember and organize our thoughts – this is when the pen and paper step in.

In my bag, you’ll always find pieces of paper, random pens and useless notebooks. Finding order within these, is the most complicated part of it all – but that is just who I am I guess (and ask me if I can follow these notes)! Translating your ideas into action is the hardest part of any journey and I am trying to learn the best way to do that for myself.

I love working at cafes. I can concentrate better when I am surrounded by chatty strangers and loud music for some reason. Do you ever work from co-working spaces or is it best for you to work from home? 

To be honest, I believe in isolation while working on my projects and finding my way through my mails. The allure to being able to socialize any single moment with hopefully great minds is apparent but I guess the pain and distraction is out there as well. And to underline that our office is quite an intimate space as well so on a day of smart working, my home’s kitchen is always the best idea.

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I guess everyone is stimulated by different environments. I love working in the kitchen as well. Back to career, what is one advice you ignored and you now regret or happy you did so? 

I could not specify just one but there are just many voices that talk the whole time. The most common advice out there is that a job should bring you stability and that is what you should value. This is just the sound of traumatized brains from one too many economic crisis talking. Stability matters but excitement is key for me.

Excitement is stimulation, that’s why I am here in Milano literally fighting to get a new permit of stay every single year and non-stop battling the Italian bureaucracy.

There is one more common discourse that has been bothering me a lot – and this has been appearing way too much on dinner tables and after work aperitivos: “Look for the job that defines who you are / your work defines who you are”. I find this so obnoxiously wrong on so many levels! A job might be a huge part of who we are but we must never be defined by what we do to pay our rent. This is just dangerous! A job should allow you to grow on a personal basis and push you to define yourself better every day but never overtake your personality!

 

“Gender is fluid, outdated and overrated although the sociological power of clothes can’t be overlooked. I am just trying to work on myself to feel more powerful within my own skin rather than overthinking about the gender dominance of the wardrobe.”

That's a great answer. I believe those advices belong to a masculine perspective, which is normal considering we are still working in spaces and with schedules that were designed for when men were dominant in businesses. Although I feel we are absolutely pushing the boundaries and changing the world, do you feel any pressure to dress and act masculine to seem or feel powerful? 

Definitely not or at least I would like to think that I do not feel any pressure for this.

My wardrobe does have many crossovers from menswear departments and one too many unisex sneakers but I prefer to twist these touches to look feminine and strong. This is not just a gender issue; this is just about how I want to feel in that moment. Gender is fluid, outdated and overrated although the sociological power of clothes can’t be overlooked. I am just trying to work on myself to feel more powerful within my own skin rather than overthinking about the gender dominance of the wardrobe.

There is so much to think and talk about feminine power. In your busy schedule, can you balance health with productivity? 

There are times where this is more difficult than normal – but this is when I call my best friend (shout out!) or my grandmother (and mom and dad if you are reading this) – they know better. I take a deep breath, offer myself a well-made drink at Bar Basso and try to shut myself down for a second. Sometimes this works, sometimes it does not; but worth taking the chance.

No one can deny the power of conscious breaths and cocktail breaks. One last question, what has been a support on understanding things like operations, finances, taxes? 

I haven’t understood these at all, if there is out there who someone has – call me now! 0039347….

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Hazal recommends: Be best friends with your local bar and appreciate the free drinks and companionship, read Kajet (new favorite magazine), hate fast fashion and question where your clothes are coming from and if you are proud of them, drink Ribolla Gialla (this mediocre white wine that we are more than obsessed with), call your grandmother, cook some pumpkin in the oven, listen to Italodisco, watch every single video from Showstudio, look up while you are walking to walk and appreciate Podcasts – they are your invisible bff.

Hazal also made us a “Getting Ready to Go Out” playlist. Give it a listen below.