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The Women In Denim: Pinar Demirel

The Women In Denim is Rivet’s check-in with women working in the global denim sector. The column, in partnership with The Women In Denim industry group, shines a spotlight on today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. In this Q&A, Pinar Demirel, Calik Denim marketing manager, shares how the denim industry’s willingness to adapt and innovate is a career motivator.

When and where did you begin your career in denim?

I started my career in the denim industry with Calik Denim in 2011. Since then, I have been a part of the denim world with pleasure. Before Calik Denim, I worked in different industries such as retail, health and at advertising and PR agencies.

What is the most rewarding part of your current job?

Constantly learning new things, improving, not standing still, and being able to innovate myself and my work are indispensable elements of a job for me. The denim industry is exactly like this and Calik Denim brings all these elements together. I believe this is the most rewarding part of my current job.

The fact that the denim industry is very open to innovation—and that Calik Denim supports the development of innovations—has kept me constantly improving, in terms of creativity. What motivates me the most is being able to produce and implement projects and work with a management that supports them.

Routine work does not provide opportunities for improvement. If we are talking about innovation, it is necessary to consider it not only on the basis of products but also in every part the process. My favorite value about Calik Denim is that it produces more than just products. With its young and experienced structure, Calik Denim focuses on how to blend the latest innovations with responsible fashion. This company puts its heart behind its words and continues to revolutionize the sector.

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Some people describe denim as a boys’ club. Do you agree or disagree?

While business life increases women’s productivity, self-esteem and provides economic freedom, some attitudes based on traditional values creates various problems for women. Unfortunately, this situation is happening in many sectors globally.

As for the denim industry, I think we should fight harder while trying to make more space for ourselves as women. As a woman who always freely expresses myself and my ideas, I cannot say that I have problems with this issue, but there are situations that I observe sometimes. I think supporting each other is the first step in overcoming all difficulties.

In denim, what qualities do you think women bring to the table?

In contrast to men, I think women view work more holistically as a part of their overall life plan. Therefore, they are more likely to approach their work in a more conscious way and value elements such as meaning, purpose, connection with colleagues and work-life balance. I believe these elements bring different perspectives to the industry. I also believe that women’s attention to detail and their visual skills contribute greatly to the perfection of the work.

Have you had a mentor in your career?

I have always been very lucky in this regard because I consider all my executives as my mentors. I was always supported by them and improved myself by learning different things from each of them. Some of them developed my creative side while another helped me to develop my analytical thinking structure. I can say that each of them contributed differently.

What can women do to help other women in the denim industry?

Women possess the same traits as their male counterparts: vision, perseverance, empathy, passion, etc. But one thing that next-generation female leaders need to have is to truly be at the forefront of creating women-empowered workplaces. In this regard, the biggest task falls to women. I believe that women should break the chains and ensure their voices are heard in the business world. Women managers who can break the chains will pave the way for other female employees. The support provided to them and the barriers before them will perhaps be the key to change the existing gender-based mentality patterns in the business world.

What advice would you give to a woman starting a career in the denim industry?

Be eager to learn, take risks, learn from failure, fight for what you believe in and never give up, no matter how hard a challenge is.

Who is your denim style icon, and why?

Princess Diana. She has always impressed me with her effortless style and also her strong stance as a woman. Whenever I look at the images of her wearing denim, she represents complete freedom with a rebellious side.

What should be the denim industry’s top priority now?

Being and acting eco-consciously!

The world is changing and companies are trying to adapt themselves to the changes in consumer behaviors, technology, digitalization, climate change, scarcity in resources and growing and migrating demography all over the world. But, along with the coronavirus, sustainability has become the new normal. This is a wakeup call for the companies. The new normal forces companies to take precautions to produce responsibly.

This also means that economy and sustainability must be balanced. There is a need to act with common sense for the societies in the world that are deprived of even the most fundamental needs. Unsustainable companies will not be able to continue their existence in the very near future.

What makes you most optimistic?

Being able to discuss things, to talk, to fight for change, to be able to take part in even a small part of change … all of these give me hope. As Confucius once said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”