NUMAN ATAKERABOUT THE DESIGNER
Fashion designer. Founder of the globally renowned fashion brand JOHN PAUL ATAKER, A brand which happens to be named after his son, i.e. John Paul.
Numan Ataker was born in 1970 into an Assyrian family as the 6th of 10 siblings in the rural South Eastern Anatolia in a village of Sirnak town. A fairly well to do farmer, his father decided to move his family to the West, to Istanbul.
Numan was 6 years old then. They moved in together with his brother who went to İstanbul earlier and settled there. Start of a tough economic condition was signaling a hard life a head today, the John Paul Ataker collection is made up of curated styles with design integrity, a focus on fit, intricate details and hand-sewn craftsmanship that have made Numan Ataker a notable designer in the fashion Industry.
With such sophistication and individuality, garments have been worn by respected celebrities such as fashionista Kelly Osbourne, Chrissy Teigen, and Olivia Culpo just to name a few.
The 7 year old Numan was sent to work in a ready to wear garments workshop while started attending primary school; pupil by the morning, child apprentice in the afternoon.
Talented Numan’s skills were soon recognized and the owner of a neighboring workshop proposed to pay better wages and became his new employer. Impressed by Numan’s skills and proficiency, the new master made a challenging offer one day: “son, the day you are able to sew yourself a full shirt, all by your own, I will let you produce your own shirts and market them.” Really motivated by this attractive challenge, little Numan sews his fully self produced shirt at the age of 9.
From that day on, the little apprentice sews shirts of his own, and after his master has checked each one (QC), he tours wholesalers and retailers for marketing these. The proceeds are returned to the master.
From very early on, Numan’s childhood was almost fully occupied by intense and time consuming labor. Besides working at a workshop after school hours, during the remainder of the evening “off” hours, Numan sold chewing gum and bottled water, peddling on the Istiklal Street in Beyoglu. The most crowded boulevard of the Big City. Like all his brothers, all the money earned was handed to his father.
Years later, in 1982, his father gathered his children around and announced that he had been saving all the money they have earned; and now, with the help of this money, he was going to open up a garments workshop for the family.
That same year, Numan is registered with a Secondary School. All brothers start working with great enthusiasm in their new family-owned workshop.
After a short while, his father summoned Numan and told him he should quit school, arguing it is unfair to the rest of his 3 brothers who were working full-time and not attending any school. Complying with his father’s request, Numan ended his educational life as a secondary school dropout at the age of 12(13?).
This is one of the worst traumas of his life, Numan Ataker says. For years he saw himself attending school, sitting on his desk, listening to his teachers and wearing school uniforms in his dreams.
As he turns 18, all his 3 brothers quit the family workshop, leaving him alone and solely in charge. But there was a problem: The clients are hesitant to continue with their orders, anxious that such a young “master” may not be able to sustain the quality and steady flow of the products.
Numan decided he has to win over the old clientele and gain new ones. To this end, he produces full line prototypes of shirts and other sampler garments and tours clients with a presentation. He also prepares a presentation (with their respective models) for leading world brands who outsource to Turkish producer firms. The result is great success. Not only he secures the-then-current client base’s loyalty, he also wins over some major new customers.
By the time he was 20, Numan’s workshop was a major and reputable supplier for a multitude of prominent local and international brands.
1991 saw Numan Ataker exploring new opportunities in the garment accessories market. He quickly grew and expanded his business to this area, becoming a major supplier.
In 1999, Numan Ataker concluded he had reached his limits of growth in the accessories market in Turkey and joined hands with his cousin to venture into the textile production (fabrics/clothes) and textile design fields.
Numan Ataker was also very quick to expand in this sector. Thanks to experience gained in adjacent sectors relevant to textiles, prêt à porter, sewing and garments accessories, he advanced rapidly and consolidated his position in competition with 30-40 year old, well established firms.
It was 1999 by then.
By this time, the overall global picture had also been greatly transformed. Numan Ataker started to explore the Far East textile production, technology and marketing platforms. He started to develop trade relations and starts importing from these markets, bridging domestic and European markets with the Far East.
In 2010, Numan Ataker decided to cut away from the Far Eastern markets and harness the potentials of the domestic (Turkish) textile industry.
Shortly after, in 2012, Numan Ataker focused all his attention and energy to establish a global fashion brand centered in the United States, New York, NY. And thus, a years’ long dream became reality.
Numan Ataker is married to Mrs. Sehristan Ataker. They have children together: Lara Gul (2001), Zoe Keely (2003), John Paul (2006) and Philip Joseph (2017).