�Devon Pendle­ton and Iso­bel Finkel

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Companies/industries -

jumped 24 per­cent, to 7 bil­lion lira. That’s made Ku­cuk’s brother Mustafa, Waikiki’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, a bil­lion­aire. The one­time sheep­herder’s 39 per­cent stake in the com­pany is val­ued at $1.7 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Bloomberg Bil­lion­aires In­dex. Va­hap’s 9 per­cent stake is worth about $400 mil­lion. The Ku­cuks de­clined to com­ment on their wealth.

Orig­i­nally a French brand (the LC stands for les copains, or “friends”), Waikiki de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion for ec­cen­tric de­signs and bright col­ors. In the 1980s it started buy­ing tex­tiles from the Ku­cuk fam­ily’s com­pany. The Ku­cuks and a hand­ful of part­ners be­came the brand’s lo­cal whole­sale dis­trib­u­tor in 1990; seven years later they bought Waikiki from its founders. Mustafa and Va­hap are em­blem­atic of the so- called Ana­to­lian Tigers, a gen­er­a­tion of en­trepreneur­s, mostly con­ser­va­tive and hail­ing from the coun­try’s east—the equiv­a­lent of the U. S. Bi­ble Belt when com­pared with more sec­u­lar Istanbul—who have thrived un­der Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan. Once asked by a so­ci­ol­o­gist to ex­plain Waikiki’s suc­cess, Va­hap said, “The se­cret is to un­der­stand the Ana­to­lian cus­tomer.”

Few other mass-mar­ket brands in Turkey ap­peal so di­rectly to con­ser­va­tive dressers. Ayse Nil Kirecci, a pro­fes­sor at Mal­tepe Univer­sity in Istanbul who’s writ­ten about Waikiki’s role as a “de­moc­ra­tiz­ing” force in Turk­ish fash­ion, says its fab­rics tend to be thicker than those used by Zara or Mango, and the neck­lines are typ­i­cally less re­veal­ing. Still, Waikiki plays well to sec­u­lar con­sumers, with pen­cil skirts and sleeve­less blouses, tread­ing a del­i­cate line in a coun­try where pol­i­tics are some­times ex­pressed in con­sumer pref­er­ences. “It’s not for con­ser­va­tive peo­ple, it’s not for lib­eral peo­ple,” says Murat Er­gene, a retail con­sul­tant who ad­vises the com­pany. “It’s for ev­ery­one.”

Edited by James E. El­lis and Dim­i­tra Kessenides Bloomberg.com The loss Walt Dis­ney ex­pects to take on The Finest Hours, its first movie flop of the year. its most re­cent an­i­mated fea­ture, opened at $75 mil­lion, stronger than The bot­tom line Waikiki is bring­ing fash­ions that ap­peal to the sec­u­lar and the ob­ser­vant to coun­tries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

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