What little girl doesn’t have fond memories from early dance classes - fluttering around in a leotard, staring at her own reflection in the mirror. It was those memories that led Ezgi Bozkurt and Buse Uğur to create their very own line of sustainable swimwear, Fifth Position, inspired by their love for ballet and designed so women can move freely.
Hailing from Istanbul Turkey, Buse is the daughter of a ballerina and started dancing herself at a young age: classical ballet came first, followed by contemporary dance. She’s been wearing her dance leotards as swimsuits since she was a kid, and when she realized that her leotards had a fan base of their own, she decided to turn it into a business. Ezgi, first cast as the model for the brand’s look book, became fast friend with Buse, and joined her as her partner for the brand’s second collection. She brings a background in product and interior design to the mix.
We fell in love with the brand, named after the most elaborate ballet position, at first sight: the clean lines, a fit that is reminiscent of activewear while remaining graceful, and let’s face it, the very idea of ballet-inspired beachwear! The girls now split their time between Amsterdam and Istanbul – with a healthy dose of sunshine all year round in southwest Turkey, near Bodrum (and we don’t blame them!).
Get ready to petit jeté onto your next beach…
TELL US ABOUT 5TH POSITION… HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
Ezgi: The story begins with Buse’s idea to redesign dance leotards to be worn on the beach. I was the lookbook model for the first collection, which was more like a capsule collection with five looks. I became a fast fan of the idea of comfortable, simple, yet super sexy cuts that enable you to move freely. For the second collection in 2015, I was no longer the model, but a partner in 5th Position! We launched our first collection together with a runway show at Fashion Week in Istanbul.
Buse: As a dancer, I had been wearing my leotards as swimsuits since I was a kid. When I realized that my mis-used leotards had their own fan group, I decided to turn it into a business.
EZGI, YOU'RE A MODEL AND BUSE, YOU'RE A DANCER. HOW DOES THAT INFORM YOUR DESIGN CHOICES FOR FIFTH POSITION?
Ezgi: Besides modeling, I studied product design. So my approach to design is basically as a product designer.
Buse: When designing my own dance leotards as a girl, the most important aspect was comfort, since I danced in them. And it is the same for swimsuits. When I design swimwear, I always think about whether I would be able to dance in it.
WHO IS THE 5TH POSITION GIRL?
Ezgi: The 5th Position woman knows that the sexiest thing is confidence. She is a free spirit, enjoying life. She also shares our concerns about sustainability and nature.
Buse: The 5th Position girl loves to dance, run, swim, and laugh. She doesn't care about how her hair looks at the beach. She loves summer and everything about it.
WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT QUALITIES FOR SWIMWEAR IN YOUR OPINION?
Ezgi: Design-wise, our main objective is to create cuts that don’t limit your moves. Personally, I am not one of the still sunbathers on the beach. I love swimming, playing beach volley, dancing, etc. We want to create swimsuits that you can use many years, not just a season. That’s why we use the highest quality materials and best manufacturing techniques.
YOU'VE MADE THE DECISION TO COMMIT TO SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS. WHAT PROMPTED THIS DECISION AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
Ezgi: We are really excited about it! We’ve been planning this move for a while. But first we needed to try the materials to ensure quality. We first used some of these materials in our collection last year, in very limited quantity for certain cuts. We were happy with the result, so we decided to use only sustainable materials in 2018. We strongly believe that the women that we describe as our customer share our concerns about sustainability.
THE BRAND WAS BORN IN ISTANBUL, BUT EZGI, YOU'RE NOW BASED IN AMSTERDAM. HOW DO YOU MAKE IT ALL WORK?
Ezgi: We are entirely set-up to work online. Because I am far away from manufacturing, I am more involved with other aspects of the business and Buse is more involved with the production process. We keep each other in sync every day as if we were sitting next to each other. It is challenging but it’s not something that we can’t manage.
ISTANBUL IS SUCH A POWERFUL, INSPIRING CITY. HOW OFTEN DO YOU GO BACK?
Ezgi: I haven’t gone back in eight months. On one hand, I’m happy being far away from the fast pace and chaotic life in Istanbul, but I also miss the never-ending energy the city exudes. Istanbul is a city that reflects completely opposing beliefs at the same time. That is what makes it is so chaotic and such a source of inspiration.
WE AT GOLDEN EDIT ARE DREAMING OF CAPADOCCIA - HAVE YOU BEEN?
Buse: I hadn’t been to Capadoccia until this year. I knew I would love it but it was even more amazing than I thought. It’s a magical place with so much history, nature and culture. I didn’t have a chance to experience a hot air balloon ride because I visited in the winter, but I can’t wait to go there again in the summer.
BEYOND SWIMWEAR, WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO'S IN THE SUMMER?
Ezgi: Definitely a huge straw hat, and more than one slip dress to live in for the whole summer. Also, a cool, oversized white shirt and comfy yet feminine sandals.
Buse: I always prefer the kind of vacation where all you need is a swimsuit, sunglasses, and sandals.