"I was born and raised in Turkey. I was surrounded by people working in the textile industry, at mills, and with suppliers. It's everywhere there. It definitely influenced me. I studied fashion, and worked for a few years in Istanbul. Then I moved to London for graduate school. During my studies, I also worked at Alexander McQueen...after graduation, I worked for Zara. Then I moved here and worked for Joe Fresh, and finally Calvin Klein for over three years. I was working on woven products—I started off as a woven tops designer, where I met [my business partner] Hoa—she was my buyer. Then I moved to being in charge of all woven products. After that, I worked for Eli Tahari, and right after that we launched Pause. That was October 2017.
When it comes to beauty, I don't really buy products I don't need. I have one perfume, one face cleanser. I like to keep things really tight—find the right products and make the most of them. When I was a kid, I kind of copied what my mom did, and my aunt as well. I wear red lipstick a lot now—that was a habit of my aunt. Growing up, I used to go to a salon every weekend and get my nails done, get my hair done. It's more affordable [in Turkey] and it's kind of part of the culture. Women there get their nails done maybe twice a week—they don't walk around with chipped nails.
To get ready before I go out, I'll take a shower. I have naturally wavy hair that's very fine, so I use Living Proof No Frizz shampoo and conditioner. It almost seals my hair without making it really heavy. Hair is definitely the trickiest part of my routine—I have to make sure I use gentle products. I use a little No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream to lock in the moisture, and then air dry so my hair will form waves naturally. I try not to use heat much so it stays healthy, but occasionally to define my waves I use a one-inch curler. Sparkling Soda Shine Mist from Drybar helps to tame flyaways. After the shower, I use Skinfood's Egg White Pore Mask on my face. My moisturizer is the Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream—it plumps the skin and leaves a cooling effect. I let my skin fully absorb the moisturizer before I apply makeup.
I have very dry skin on my body. If I need a moisturizer, I have one from & Other Stories, or I'll just put on whatever oil I have, maybe almond oil, baby oil, whatever. I do have this soap I've been using since childhood—it's a Turkish bath soap I bring from Turkey every time I go. It's hard to describe the smell because it's so traditional for me. It's just a white soap bar—it smells very clean. It's called Haci Sikir Hammam Soap. You can find it anywere in Turkey, but it's also available online. I also use bitter almond buttery hand cream, which I import from Turkey as well. My grandmother used it.
I use the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, and then I apply some light foundation by MAC, the Studio Sculpt foundation. It's pretty sheer, and also has a moisturizing effect and satin finish. I don't use blush, but I use a finishing powder that's one or two shades darker than my skin, like a bronzer—MAC Mineralize Skinfinish. It's matte, but it has a radiant finish. Almost daily, I wear skinny black eyeliner. I use MAC Pro Longwear Eyeliner, which is gel-based and smudge-free, and you can use whatever brush you like. For eyebrows, I use Lancôme Le Crayon Poudre Brow Pencil. It's essentially a powder in a pencil form, and it's easy to apply. When I go out, I almost always wear MAC lipstick in Ruby Woo. It's just bright, clean, and modern. It's that pop of color I need to finish my otherwise tonal makeup with. For perfume, I use 1996 from Byredo.
I like going out in Brooklyn-it's usually dinner and cocktails with friends, and my husband. I like Win Son, that's one of my favorite places to eat. I also like El Almacen, which is Argentinean, and Okonomi, which is Japanese. Or for oysters and cocktails I love Maison Premiere and Hotel Delmonaco, both in Williamsburg. I love dancing, but I hate night clubs. I occasionally will go to electronic music events that pop up in Brooklyn—there's more space, less lines, and you get a chance to listen to emerging artists.
At the end of the night, I clean my face with Ren Clarifying Clay Cleanser, and take off my eye makeup with Pro Eye Makeup Remover by MAC. Then, I use the same Dr. Jart moisturizer as in the morning. Before I go to bed I've been trying to eat a probiotic yogurt-it makes me feel healthy, and not heavy. Probiotics are supposed to be good for you. I can't really tell the difference. [Laughs]."
—as told to ITG
Sezin Calikoglu photographed by Tom Newton on April 3, 2018.