Skip to main content

Ersin Akarlilar of Mavi Jeans on Breaking Into the Denim Industry

Mavi has always been an industry pioneer, originating from Istanbul in 1991 as the first Turkish brand to expand abroad to manufacture premium denim for leading global brands. Sold in over 5,000 stores in 50 countries, and worn by likes of Zac Efron, Nicola Formichetti, Lady Gaga, and Heidi Klum, Mavi took its place among the leaders of the pack by playing by its own rules.

“In the early nineties when the blue jean culture was just emerging in Turkey and internationally renowned brands dominated the market, we were the first brand to show the courage to create a world-class brand with a Turkish name. Critics said the choice of name would lead to ruin, but the name Mavi——which means ‘blue’ in Turkish, became one of the brand’s most important sources of inspiration. Denim was in our blood from the beginning. Our father Sait Akarlilar, was the most important manufacturer in Turkey, with already 40 years of experience producing garments,” Ersin Akarlilar, Mavi global CEO, said.

Akarlilar added, “Further, at a time when international brands concealed the fact that they were made in Turkey, and local brands gave themselves foreign names to conceal the fact they were Turkish, Mavi was the only brand to be completely open and transparent with its customers. This was the foundation for our close relationship with our consumers that grew even stronger as we continued to provide quality and the right products.”

Using premium Aegean cotton that is 100 percent organic in natural, pure indigo blue hues for spring/summer, Mavi is poised to push for a cleaner and more environmentally sound global existence with the introduction of its organic division collection.

Akarlilar said, “Our philosophy is to build a brand around perfect fitting jeans that convey a Mediterranean feeling in terms of fashion and detail. ‘Maviterranean’ is exotic an inspirational, contemporary and accessible.”

Now, Mavi is venturing into new brand-building activities, including releasing a seasonal magazine, Maviology, which offers an intimate insider look at Mavi and is a touch point between the brand and consumers.

Akarlilar said, “[Maviology] gives Mavi loyalists a glimpse into the global breadth of the Mavi brand as it’s filled with all things that inspire us, behind the scenes tidbits, key looks from the current collection, and highlights of what’s happening across our various territories, from bloggers in the brand to new store openings.”