The Istanbul-born brand, Les Benjamins, is so much more than just another streetwear brand – it represents a vision of the contemporary East. Founded in 2011, by Bünyamin Aydin, the brand operates from Istanbul’s upmarket, Etiler neighborhood. Interpreting the East from a creative point of view, Aydin brings to life local folklore, deep-rooted cultural influences, and rituals through his designs.
As the brand drops its latest ‘Silk Road Delivery Services’ collection, Savoir Flair sits down with Founder and Creative Director, Bünyamin Aydin to discuss the inspiration behind the new collection, the global streetwear landscape, and the designers’ mission to blur cultural boundaries.
Scroll down to read Savoir Flair’s exclusive interview with Bünyamin Aydin.
Can you describe the Les Benjamins DNA? What does the brand stand for and how does it see itself?
Les Benjamins is East Now. It’s about moving our story and community forward with our creative platform.
Who is the Les Benjamins person?
Someone who is well-traveled or is open to cultural diversity. A Les Benjamins person also has a creative interest, profession, or hobby. You can be a banker but at night you love to DJ or paint. I think most people have creative sides but they are too shy to show it.
Where does Les Benjamins stand in the global streetwear landscape? Is there a particular gap that you wish to fill?
Les Benjamins is more on the contemporary streetwear side. The luxury word is overused and has no meaning anymore. Les Benjamins represents the Middle Eastern creative community globally. Merging Eastern and Western influences has been a recurring theme in Les Benjamins’ collections.
Is cultural diversity – especially blurring cultural boundaries – of personal significance to you?
Of course it is. I’m a German citizen with Turkish roots. Automatically, I’m a blend of both. Eastern cultures have always inspired me and you could say I’m a contemporary Orientalist.
What is the idea behind your core collection for spring/summer?
The collection is titled “Silk Road Delivery Services” and I was inspired by the ancient trade route. Culture was spread back in the day through merchants traveling cross countries. Today Instagram is the reflection of what once was a platform of exchange. I wanted to pay tribute to the heritage of multiple Eastern cultures.
There is a heightened demand for streetwear and loungewear at the moment. Do you think the consumer demand shift towards comfortable clothing will continue beyond the pandemic?
It’s not a demand or trend. It’s a new norm.
Where do you see streetwear heading in the near future?
Streetwear is what we are. It will only evolve.
What are your thoughts on sustainability? What are the sustainability measures (if any) that you follow at Les Benjamins?
I have so many deep thoughts and conversations on this topic. Follow Les Benjamins closely because I wanna show what we will be doing. We have a very long-term vision and we don’t want to use it as a marketing tool. I think the pandemic gave us a change to redefine our core values as human beings and brands.