Uslu Airlines: curious name for a cosmetic brand. But to give it a more marketing-friendly handle would be an injustice. Founded by Turkish make-up artist Feride Uslu and German entrepreneur Jan Mihm in 2003, Uslu Airlines doesn't churn out the usual wardrobe of "wearable" colours or pander to trends, looking instead to the duo's home, Berlin, for inspiration. "Anything here can be a source of inspiration," says Feride. "A raincoat, an LP cover, a leaf… New York is cool, but Berlin is much cooler." They also work with a rich cross-section of designers, street artists, DJs and even Nike, creating innovative statement colours for lips and nails. It all began with a groundbreaking "airbrush" foundation, a spray-on veil of micronised liquid makeup. A colour collection followed, and in 2006 the much-talked-about sunglasses from local brand Mykita. How do shades qualify for a makeup collection? "Both Mykita and Uslu Airlines have a fascination for faces," explains Feride . "Each pair comes with matching nail polish too." Suffice to say, it's not just about makeup for Feride. The DJ colours - dreamt up by mix-masters such as Fetisch, Rollerboys, Headman and Loco Dice - come with their own free music download. They're not just selling nail polish; they're sculpting a mirrored nail with hexagonal chrome glitter. Rather than shade names, each item is tagged after an airport - from Charles de Gaulle (a mid-tone foundation) to Mzuzu in Malawi (a deep burgundy lip gloss). So what's next aboard the Uslu jet? Another cosmetic curve ball - products for men. "Since we've had a great response to our DJ collaborations, we wanted to expand our male consumer base. This drove us to collaborate with [menswear brand] Acronym on two nail polishes. Like ours, their products are aesthetically striking while also being functional." §
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