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How I found myself in the fashion business

Zeynep Ober

Barrus, my global dream

Zeynep was born in Istanbul. Her father Selim Dervisoglu was the founder of the first and biggest knitwear company ‘Selim Triko’ in Turkey. After she finished her primary education in Istanbul, Zeynep moved to Switzerland where she studied German and then ‘Business Administration’ at the University of St Gallen. She then returned to Istanbul where she worked for her family business for several years until she got married and moved to England. In England she represented her family business in the fashion knitwear business and sold knitwear to major department stores in London. After giving birth to her son she took a break from work and just concentrated on raising him. In the meantime she was getting lots of business offers. When she received a job offer of working for a ladies fashion wear company called ‘Barrus’ in Istanbul she couldn’t resist and soon found herself back in the fashion business. 
Now she is working in the UK as a European partner and distributor of the fashion house Barrus. She works with two very talented designers in a very harmonious partnership. The whole Barrus team is very talented and passionate and she is very happy working with them. Her business experience in fashion added to their talents makes them a great team. They introduced themselves and their collections to the British Fashion Council and were accepted to take part at the ‘London Fashion Week’ this February. They have also been accepted for ‘Paris Fashion Week’ in March and now her dream and her aim is to turn Barrus into a global success.



How did your childhood impact the path of your career?

I was born into the fashion business being the daughter of the founder of the earliest ladies knitwear house in Istanbul, Selim Triko. Growing up in a household engrossed in design, preparation, presentations and marketing  to meet the needs and expectations of fashion conscious ladies through the years has helped shape my personal and business interests.

What motivated you to be passionate about fashion?

I’d have to say that as well as presenting me with an interest in fashion my family instilled a passionate drive in me to succeed in  life whether in my schooling, fashion or being a housewife.  Personally I have been a very keen fashion follower since my youth. It is very helpful to be able to combine my hobby with my career choice. 




How difficult has been for you moving from a country to another?

I went to a boarding school in Switzerland at the age of 16. This helped me from an early age to adapt to life’s changing circumstances. It was not easy to begin with but I was fortunate that my brother was at university in the same country and was able to give me much needed support from time to time. Having learned to adapt and to be able to mix with a broad circle of international friends made my decision  to get married and move to London in 1994 all the more easier.

How important was the role of your parents in your personal growth?

I believe it was very important to have my parents not only giving me the best possible education but being good role models. So I followed in their steps and was encouraged whether as a wife, a mother or in business.




Do you think that being a woman has had an impact on the way you were educated and raised?

Not in my case as my family educated and raised my brother and I in very much the same way.  As with most families of similar background in Istanbul, so it is with my parents – the provision of a good education including learning a foreign language was very important. My brother and I were fortunate to have been provided with a very good education without gender prejudice.

How were you able to get involved with London Fashion Week?

As a follower of fashion and having visited Paris and Milan previously I was very keen to discover London Fashion Week. Through the years I have been invited and visited LFW very frequently. When I was asked to represent the delightful designs from Barrus I could think of no better opportunity then to introduce Barrus in LFW so I made contact with our branding advisor, Kubi Springer who was able to introduce Barrus to the London Fashion Council and thus acceptance into the LFW.


What are your ambitions for this event and what motivated you to be part of it?

My ambition is to establish Barrus and other fashion wear, predominantly sourced from Turkey, into London fashion circles. Unquestionably London is a world recognised fashion centre. I believe establishment and recognition in London will be a platform to global recognition. I believe LFW presents the perfect opportunity to open doors into other London fashion circles.

What are your future dreams?

My dream is to make a success of Barrus and my other fashion house choices, both in London and beyond.


Note: Barrus will have two shows in the London Fashion Week.
The first one is on 19 February and it is for the buyers only.
The second one is open to the public on the afternoon of 20 February.
Anyone interested to attend on 20 February can contact:
[email protected]
You can find more details at:
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