Les Benjamins… the new kid just “whirled” in the block – a fashion report

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Founded by Bünyamin Aydın five years ago (Est. 2011), the Istanbul-based fashion brand is (already) well positioned in the field of highly urban wear (HUW). It was on the purpose that I missed the word “street wear”, as, unfortunately, it now mostly refers to low/medium budget poorly re-designed polyester ugly items, made for massive ready-to-consume use… So, this is not a story about a producer – a huge chain of stores trying to address, what they understand as “urban sub-population” of potential clients, by producing the cheap “designed-clothes-inspired” items “seducing” (only) by the low price on pre-term sales.

Les Benjamins is something completely different…

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From the recently presented works and previous several collections, Aydın addresses mainly the younger / middle-aged educated urban audience with the stylish mixture of pop art, collage-like mix of different epochs, characters, personalities, messages and ideas. His fashion is intellectual, thus certain “nonchalance” towards strict forms and certain elitism regarding the message interpretation is required as the “inclusion criteria” for the group of HUW fans. Basically, more than average knowledge of history, history of art, music and urban subculture codes is needed, instead of just some raw courage, in order to proudly wear the suggested outfit. The obvious, written messages are not simply politically incorrect. The graphic solutions are however more demanding and the messages are more sophisticated, as one would expect. Rooted in local history and tradition, the symbols are not merely folkloric or national. On the other side, there is not the recognizable almost vulgar trend towards “globalism”, which is one of the trends in global fashion industry. The traditional aspects are mainly historic symbols, dating back to the era of the Ottoman Empire, although I always admired the Seljuk mathematical approach to art, patterns, arabesques and architecture, being more sophisticated, more mysterious and definitely the more challenging aspect of Turkishness… Regardless of that, the symbols are well styled and matched with universally recognized personalities the designer admires. Personally, I would love the T-shirt with Freud wearing the yellow glasses. I particularly like the black-phase – the Lambda / the Centaurus jacket, the Hydra shirt, the Electra trousers… as these could be defined as the statement items.

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Speaking of the recent FW 2016 show in Milan – participation in Milan Fashion Week is a huge success by definition, I can perfecntly well understand the general idea of presenting the recognizable symbols of Turkey – the whirling Dervishes and the great carpets (I would refer to Hereke!) However, the Sema is the religious ritual, which requires the perfect spiritual harmony, so I wonder if the fashion show was the right place… The unusual artistic performance was played and people (still) talk about it.

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T-shirts, kaftans, wide-pants, bomber-jackets, heavily tattooed faces and bodies, Pablo Picasso, Grace Jones and Salvador Dali, a lot of black, opposed to bright colors – yellow and geometric patterns, embroidery and athletic pants, biker jackets… Ottoman punk! The show was different, refreshing and colorful!

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Excellent choice of retailers is already available in Milan, New York, London, Istanbul and Dubai according to my knowledge. The Parisian retailer’s address is (still) missing on the official site… I believe Colette would be a great place…

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I would like to see more accessories available… particularly the shoes and the boots, some belts, imaginative scarves and gloves and assorted bags and umbrellas, as we’ve already seen the caps. I’d like to see the matching bracelets and watches, as well and small leather items like the iPad and / or iPhone cases, wallets and key holders… I would particularly like to see the eyewear collections and the realization of the projects with established producers of eyewear and footwear…

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When I was in Istanbul, walking down the hill at Galata one evening, I spotted the shop window at the corner. That’s how it all started… Taking into account the French brand name “Les Benjamins”, I spontaneously remembered the name. I was glad to see that the “new kid” just whirled in the block.Screen shot 2016-02-08 at 02.32.02

Les Benjamins – http://www.lesbenjamins.com/

About necessities123editor

Necessities123... "We live in an age where unnecessary things are our only necessities." [O. Wilde]
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