Deniz Terli (32) is a fashion designer who specialises in shoes. To her, Rotterdam is about getting to the essence of things.
‘I have a Turkish background. My grandparents were one of the first immigrant workers who arrived here and my parents followed them later. I have learnt so much from them. Particularly because they told me from a very early age that this would be our new home country. Sure, my grandfather and grandmother dreamed about going back to Turkey, at some point in the future. But they were divorced, which is really rare in Turkish culture, then and now. We spoke Dutch at home. My brothers and I were encouraged to do well at school, to make brave choices. Very liberate, although my parents were quite shocked when I decided to go to the art academy. They did not see any real job opportunities. But I really wanted to do it and in the end they understood it.
For me, Rotterdam is the best city to live in, in the Netherlands anyway. I am very ambitious, you see. In terms of fashion, Amsterdam would be a much better place to be. But in that city it’s all about being cool and acting a part. Here in Rotterdam we get to the essence of things. I really appreciate that about this city. It appeals to me and I am doing it myself: I make clear choices because it will get me further. I graduated with a fashion collection but I soon knew that I would never be among the very best at this. Shoes suited me better. So I’m investing all my energy into shoes. That’s how I would like to conquer the world.’