There is no other accessories brand that says “Bodrum” better than Love&Can Bag. Although its founder, Nihan Gider, claims she didn’t give much thought to the branding details as all of them fell into place so quickly and quite naturally, creative execution reflected in her clutches and totes is the reason why so many of us fall in love with the Aegean town.
There is no exaggeration in saying that Nihan Gider looks like a heroine from a nostalgic movie: she talks about her life and presents her timeless designs gracefully, unfolding their secrets right before your eyes. Living in Bodrum since the age of three, she admits that the picturesque surrounding of the coastal town has been her biggest source of inspiration, alongside her family and closest friends who provide unlimited support for her creative work.
Behind the brand
The story of Love&Can Bag starts from knitting. Gider’s mother-in-law made the first bag reflecting her daughter-in-law’s design for her to wear, what didn’t go unnoticed by friends and acquaintances. Taking more pleasure from imagining and sketching, Gider steered away from her full-time job as a sworn translator and gradually committed to bag making. “After the first knitted pieces we began to add other materials: linen, leather, wicker,” Gider told The Guide Bodrum. “All of them come from Turkey and I take great pride from this fact.”
Love&Can Bag journey is not only one of a brand but first and foremost, of a person. In Turkey (in this case, Bodrum and Istanbul) one can find craftsmen specializing in any kind of work, and Gider admits that in search for the right artisans she was lucky enough to come across fascinating people who influenced her. She says she actually found herself in the stories that continue to inspire and teach her. “They know old Istanbul,” she says. “The conversations we have while drinking coffee are very unique.”
The masters are often the ones who help her find the right materials for her designs, but the process isn’t always an easy one, it requires a lot of patience and persistence as there is a different person weaving the wicker for her summer baskets, and a different person making the details from Bodrum sandal leather, and so on and so forth. “Sometimes I find myself waiting at their door early in the morning just to get a sample done,” Gider explains, but quickly adds that despite this she finds a great pleasure in the entire process.
Since made entirely by hand, Love&Can Bags are only available in small quantities. The choice of colors in the brand’s range isn’t coincidental either, with all of them somehow relevant to the Bodrum Peninsula: bougainville pinks, turquoise and indigo of the Aegean Sea, sand and stone beige, olive greens. Gider’s timeless designs take their names from ancient heroines: Daphne, Lykia, Osia, Helen or Karya, who has a room dedicated to her story within the Bodrum castle, but also more contemporary icons of style, such as Mica Ertegun, who used to vacation in Bodrum with her husband Ahmet, the founder of Atlantic Records. “I remember some of her old photos wearing beautiful dresses,” Gider recalls the early impressions. “Although I didn’t have the chance to meet her in person, I think her image influenced me very much.”
Childhood memories keep coming back as she discusses Bodrum, reminiscing the times when as kids she used to play with her friends inside the castle, and swim off the rocky shore at the promenade nearby. “It was the biggest luxury of the time, and I still tend to miss those days,” she says nostalgically as it becomes clear that her appreciation for the past is an important part of her brand’s identity. “I find old things more meaningful. I don’t like items that quickly go out of style,” she says, and judging by the final product, one understands that she really means it. Although her earliest designs are not more than five years old, they already become instant classics.
Where to buy
Love&Can Bag Karia clutches are available online via shoptheguide.com. Wider selection of designs can be found at Macakizi Boutique and Bookshop in Bodrum. Look for the designer’s collaboration with MDS Stripes (Signature Bag) at mdsstripes.com and Moda Operandi.