A self-taught craftsman, Aykut Ozen has been hand-making one-of-a-kind leather goods in Seattle for the past six years. With the help of partner Julianna Vezzetti, his work has grown into the Ozen Company, with clients all over the world. "It's more of a wearable art experiment than a traditional fashion business brand," said Ozen. "My main motivation is never to mass-produce a single design, but to make lasting and timeless original pieces."
Drawing inspiration from classic leather designs, Ozen crafts made-to-order biker caps, camera bags, and accessories like belts and wallets. His skills shine brightest in his custom leather jackets. Many of his designs contain references to nature—snakes in particular.
"I'm probably inspired by snakes and reptiles because I like old-school fantasy art and mythology stories," Ozen told me.
Though he shies away from actual snakeskin, Ozen does find inspiration in the materials. "I once found a vintage kangaroo fur at a thrift store," he said, "and used it to create a jacket. That jacket feels very special, and it hopefully keeps the spirit of that animal alive."
You can see Aykut Ozen's designs at the runway show Reveal: Northwest Innovation in Fashion (alongside local designers Built for Man, SCHAI, SILVAE, and Tom Ordonio) on Friday, April 29, at EMP Museum.