Safa Sahin – The renowned footwear designer on life in Portland and inspiring walks.

Safa Sahin – The renowned footwear designer on life in Portland and inspiring walks.

Safa Sahin is a footwear designer for Nike in Portland, Oregon, and the founder of his own namesake design label. Originally from Turkey, he is known for his surreal designs that often resemble another world altogether, blending sculpture and function. Safa has held exhibitions in the USA, Italy and Turkey and counts Lady Gaga among his clients. We spoke to Safa about a few tips for life in Portland and finding inspiration in Oregon's natural environment.

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ON WHERE YOU’RE FROM

I am from Turkey

ON WHY YOU MOVED TO PORTLAND

I got a job offer from Nike in Portland.

ON THE NEIGHBOURHOOD YOU’RE LIVING IN

I live in the Pearl District. Because, I wanted to be close to art galleries and the center of the city.

ON PORTLAND IN ONE WORD

Nature!

 

Nike design sketches and performance model by Safa Sahin

ON CURRENT PROJECTS

I’m working on my personal high heel 19/aw collection (Safa Sahin brand). I’m also designing new shoes for Nike. I haven’t held any any exhibitions recently but it’s possible in the near future.

ON YOUR FAVOURITE NIKE SNEAKER

Air Force 1

ON WHO INSPIRES YOU IN CULTURE

Bjork inspires me a lot.

Portland is a very natural environment. I’m getting so many inspirations. Especially Portland’s spring season which inspires me a lot.

ON THE BEST THING ABOUT LIVING ABROAD

Sometimes people get overwhelmed in an environment where they live constantly. The work done everyday can become a monotonous life. So when the human space changes, it becomes refreshing and you rejoice in life. That’s why I think the best thing about life abroad is ‘change’.

ON HOW PORTLAND INSPIRES YOU

Portland is a very natural environment. I’m getting so many inspirations. Especially Portland’s spring season which inspires me a lot.

ON WHERE YOU GO FOR INSPIRATION

I usually go to a forest and kind of natural areas. Also, I watch science-fiction movies.

 

Sculptural shoe design from Saha Sahin brand, and Safa at work is his studio

ON YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS

My creative process is very exciting, because I make my samples by hand. My process; finding inspiration – sketching – making a render – making a sample – revisions and the finished product.

ON WHERE YOU FIND SHOES

Generally, I buy shoes from vintage stores.

ON SOMETHING TO DO WHEN YOU FIRST MOVE TO PORTLAND

I have so many recommended places but one of the best is Cannon beach.

ON AN ACTIVITY YOU ENJOY IN PORTLAND

To just take a coffee or tea and go to the oceanside.

When the human space changes, it becomes refreshing.. That’s why I think the best thing about life abroad is change.

ON YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNER

Alexander McQueen

ON YOUR FAVOURITE PARK IN OREGON

Redwood forest! It’s on the California border.

 

Portland’s Redwood Park and Cannon Beach

ON GOOD FOOD

My wife’s cooking 🙂

ON A GALLERY TO CHECK OUT

Upfor Gallery

ON A FAVOURITE OUTDOOR SPOT

 Angel’s Rest. I really like to hike there.

ON A HOLIDAY SPOT TO KNOW

Antelope Canyon

ON A GREAT STORE IN PORTLAND

Goodwill

ON A FAVOURITE PLACE TO BE

The Amazon rainforest

ON EVENTS TO CHECK OUT

The Rose festival is really famous

ON SOMETHING FROM HOME YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE IN PORTLAND

There are no Turkish restaurants here. That’s why I sometimes check out mediterranean restaurants.

 

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Nuggets in this interview

inspiration

Upfor Gallery, Portland

"Favourite gallery.. Upfor"

–Safa Sahin

neighborhoods

Pearl District, Portland

"I live in the Pearl District. Because, I wanted to be close to art galleries and the center of the city".

–Safa Sahin

travel

Angel’s Rest, Portland

"Angel Rest. I really like to hike there".

–Safa Sahin

travel

Redwood Park, Portland

"Redwood forest! It's on the California border"

–Safa Sahin

arrival

Cannon Beach, Portland

"I have so many recommended places but one of the best is Cannon beach".

–Safa Sahin

events

Portland Rose Festival

"The Rose festival is really famous".

–Safa Sahin

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