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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Les Benjamins debuts at Paris Fashion Week

The Aboriginal community of Australia influenced the Turkish brand latest streetwear collection for women

Les Benjamins' spring/summer 2018 presentation at Paris Fashion Week. Courtesy Les Benjamins
Les Benjamins' spring/summer 2018 presentation at Paris Fashion Week. Courtesy Les Benjamins

Millennials want streetwear. That’s what Turkish designer Bünyamin Aydin tells me during his recent trip to Dubai, ahead of his trip to Paris for spring/summer 2018 men’s fashion week.

His brand, Les Benjamins, is a menswear label that sells edgy, Eastern-inspired streetwear for men. But for spring/summer 2018, the designer debuted some pieces for women, and he presented these in Paris in June.

While previous collections never included any dedicated womenswear, women nonetheless often took to wearing Les Benjamins designs, opting to wear them loose and baggy. "Since the beginning, women have been wearing my menswear,” says Aydin. “When I started, most of the people who were buying were women, you wear it oversized and it looks very cool,” he says.

The oversized theme continues in the spring/summer 2018 collection, with zip-up hoodies, boiler suits, trench jackets, harem-style trousers and cold-shoulder sweatshirts on offer for women. A mix between athleisure and urban-alternative design, garments feature “Les Benjamins” lettering, sheer panelling and utilitarian straps. Prints and textures complement the menswear, and for the Paris Fashion Week presentation, male and female models were styled together in matching outfits – athletic socks and sporty trainers included.

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“My DNA is storytelling of the East; it’s about opening the untold stories of the regional cultures, and every season I choose a theme.” The Aboriginal Australian culture played muse for Aydin’s latest collection – abstract patterns influenced by Aboriginal artwork and earthy stripes inspired by natural Australian landscapes feature through mixed-print collages and embroidery.

The clothing will appeal to men and women who seek under-the-radar, punk-inspired streetwear labels that do not necessarily conform to mainstream fashion norms. Aydin’s mission, he says, is to educate people around the world about the diverse communities that exist.

“What I do right now is more of a cultural movement than a fashion brand,” he says.