Proper Interview: Timur Karamolla, Arhto

Not only is Arhto one of our favourite new brands but it’s owner/creator Timur is also one of our favourite people to hang out with. A fountain of knowledge on the film industry as well as how to make the perfect sweatshirt his insightful patter and charm are reflected in the weft and warp of the superb garms that he’s been creating over the past year or two. So it was a bit of a no-brainer that we decided to drop Mr Karamolla a line to see what’s going down.

So Timur, how have you been occupying yourself since the Lockdown?
Well I stayed working for 2 months (kinda burnt myself out in all fairness), then after sales came to a standstill and the heatwave kicked in, I placed myself on furlough. My clobber isn’t high summer stuff, its more suited for our usual weather here in the UK. Following that I took some much needed time for myself, working on myself, lots of walking, took up reading books again after a long hiatus, speaking with loved ones way more than ever, plenty of zoom calls with good eggs,  began meditating, trips to the seaside with plenty of swims, helping those in need, doing DIY bits here/there/everywhere, gained a month long obsession with my car… oh and was helping my mum out a bunch. There were low moments, loneliness, fear, self pity, self loathing and obsession with the future consumed me at times, but I always ended back here in the present and out of the twisted creations my mind took me to.

How has the pandemic affected the day to day running of Arhto?
In regards to my day to day, it didn’t affect me much at all (one man band/team of one), if anything it gave me real focus at the start in regards to Arhto. I live a stone’s throw from the office, so that wasn’t an issue in regards to commuting, plus I was the only person coming into the building which is still self isolating. I got to tackle a few things I had been putting off or simply didn’t have time for previously which was a relief, reconnect with some people I hadn’t touched base with for a while, I even put on a gesture to customers in the form of a 40% off promo code – “SERENITY” given the mess the world is in.
However with our suppliers over in Turkey, they really suffered and the majority of them had to shut up shop for good. That’s the harsh reality for the people who truly make our dreams/businesses possible. Covid hit the suppliers/factories very hard over in Turkey, especially the small scale / higher end guys, my other home truly has become a destination for bulk / disposable / fast fashion now which saddens me.

What’s been your go to lockdown rig out and how often have you been wearing it before changing it? Be honest.
Admittedly, I was pretty sweatastic to begin with, then when it heated up some old beaten up tees from moons ago and some basketball shorts, all paired up with my adilettes  – chillin like a mad villain. I reckon it was a three day rotation on average, soon as I noticed an odour it was time for the wash – for me and the clothes. Yes I’m single!
Being something of a film buff what have you been watching in isolation? Any recommendations.
I got back into reading more over lockdown (I know right… needed a change from watching the box). I was watching more than movies over the period, to name a few:  Zerozerozero, Looming tower, rewatched Gomorrah (Italian), the last dance and Gangs of London.
Having worked in the film industry have you got lots of famous mates? Who’s in your phone that would impress us?
Haha! I did have a bunch of numbers back in the day and have a few still in my contacts, but they’ve never been rung. I looked after and directed the famed lot mostly, not befriended them. Fame brings ego & drama (literally), the true mates were my comrades in arms truly grinding hard behind the cameras. But if I was to mention a famed couple who were a pleasure to work with, without naming names: the dynamic duo from the ‘three colours cornetto trilogy’they were truly great to work with and down to earth. 

I sometimes struggle to enjoy a programme because having worked in telly I’ll get pre-occupied with stupid stuff like “I wonder if that contributor signed a release form?’ rather than just enjoying it, do you get similarly distracted when watching movies?
For sure! There’s 3 main ones for me:
Continuity. my meticulous eye was my strength on set, but a burden as a viewer. I notice little details and it then spirals in my head, but I end up laughing it off.
Background artists / extras.  when they are poorly organised, again the continuity of them between shots, poor direction/acting or just they are just staring at the main actor throughout the shot. My palm smacks my face!
Ooooooo how did they do that? When I see something I really enjoy in camera and not the edit, camera movement / trickery etc and spend the next 15 mins fixated – trying to think how it was done etc, I may even txt a pal to ask them. Missing a whole chunk of the movie/show.

What have you missed the most during the lockdown?
Many fav food spots (some haven’t reopened – sad times), my family and summer getaway in Turkey and NORMALITY, it’s all gotten a bit too weird!

And what have you enjoyed the most?
Reading, self work, meditation and going to bed just after sun down and up at sunrise (this has lost its novelty now in mid Oct). 

Given your Turkish heritage have you been making stuff like Borek from scratch everyday or just living off Pot Noodles like the rest of us?
Boreks were made indeed! I was making meals alongside my ol’ man and sister over zoom on a few occasions (was a bit stressful in all fairness – “I can’t see what your doing, why’s the camera face down on the surface” etc), they were even sending me care packages from a London Turkish food market which was incredible, the first delivery I just about crammed in the fridge (£70 worth of Turkish cheeses – WTF). But don’t get me wrong, there were beans on toast days, pizza days, are these still edible days, whatever’s in the fridge and cupboards concoction days etc. I did lose weight over lockdown rather than gaining it, so that’s a bonus. I would honestly say my culinary skills took a blow, I cook far better for others than myself, think thats a pretty standard habit for most, but a hard thing to stomach.

Arhto is without a doubt one of our favourite new brands, when can we expect some new stuff and where do you plan to take the brand in the future?
Awww shucks, you guys do say that a lot! It’s truly appreciated and I’m grateful that you guys and our customers feedback such praise to the company and the garms I created. It’s brought me to tears at times, especially over lockdown. We just dropped 8 new products last month (Crew neck sweats, Carrot trousers, Magyar t-shirts and some Hooded overshirts) –

The future for Arhto is uncertain, as uncertain as everything else which is going on in the world. It’s hard enough to start and succeed with a new business as it is, throw a pandemic on top of that and it’s seriously desperate times. I’ve still got a whole bunch of stock from our existing products, which are understated & timeless in design and I won’t be looking to release anything new until this stuff is out there being worn. If this doesn’t happen and soon, then I will inevitably have to shut the doors soon myself. Hard truths! But that time hasn’t come yet and I’m still designing newness in the background and have gained some new contacts here in the UK for production. If we do survive lots of things will change – such as:  more colour ways, small quantities per style/colour, have it mostly made here in the UK and released as individual stand alone items rather than collections. There’s hope and just got to keep faith.

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