For Turkey, the Vakko fashion house represents history and modernity in the same breath. As Turkey modernized following the creation of Atatürk’s republic in 1923, Vakko would be in the vanguard of the country’s evolving relationship with the West and with urbanization, with aesthetics and luxury. Vitali Hakko established the family’s first small shop, a milliners called Şen Şapka, in 1934. When it became Vakko, a conflation of the founder’s given and surnames, it began to produce scarves in Turkish silk, cotton, and wool at its own printing house, creating the first printed Turkish textiles, extending the business into ready-to-wear, and creating what would become a symbol of the brand’s dedication to quality and refinement. The first fashion boutique opened in Beyoğlu in 1962, for the first time offering customers fixed prices, formalized seasonal sales, returns, and refunds.
Today, the company’s forward-looking business practices and sophisticated tastes have made it an empire: in addition to its 15 flagships, Vakko owns 35 fashion and two chocolate boutiques, and over 100 other outlets, wedding and household stores, and concept shops. It is a family dynasty with its hands in everything from bridal gear, fragrances, and shoes to chocolates, household items, and high-end events spaces. It inaugurated the country’s first concept store, selling the most avant-garde names in the industry in addition to its own multiplying merchandise.
Driving this diversity of interests has been a conviction that the artifacts of, not just fashion, but all the visual arts should be regarded as a whole instead of a mess of parts. This is an approach demonstrated by the display of paintings and sculpture in the company's offices and its factories since 1968 and by the establishment of a 30,000-book library of international visual culture that is now accessible to the public.
This is a philosophy shared with Autoban, whose furniture, interiors, and architecture create a symbiosis, each one influencing the character of, and at times giving birth to, the other. No wonder then that of Autoban’s 176 retail commissions to date, the studio has completed 83 shops for Vakko thus far. Another philosophy shared by the behemoth fashion house and the 30-person design studio is that the past and the present can coexist in a creative endeavor that looks into the future: one of Vakko’s ad campaigns features the slogan: “Yesterday… Today… Tomorrow…” an idea that has served as inspiration for much of Autoban’s work.