“I was born in Germany as a second-generation Turkish immigrant. I was always curious about my roots and combining both my German side and Turkish roots,” creative director Bünyamin Aydin tells us. He made that happen, bringing his multi-cultural identity to life through his label, Les Benjamins. Since its inception in 2011, the intersection of the east and west has stood at the core of his brand.
Their latest collection, entitled ‘The Silk Road’ further cements the brand’s vision.
Inspired by the desert and sea trade routes, the pieces are drenched in sandy golden hues as well as oceanic shades of blue and purple. A henna-red carpet monogram pattern is seen throughout the collection on floor-length dresses, jackets and an oversized frilled coat.
“The silk road was one of the most important trading routes in history. Culture was spread through it,” Aydin explains.
All the way until the 18th century, the silk road has been pivotal for cultural and economic exchange from East Asia to Southern Europe, which is what the designer wants to embody in his distinctly contemporary vision.
Les Benjamins also stayed true to its urban streetwear codes with essential tees and denim in the collection, not to mention its ethos of deconstructed sportswear pieces and sharp tailoring. A black mini-bag with fringe detailing is among the standout pieces.
And that’s not the only major element to ‘The Silk Road’: British artist Neil Raitt’s exclusively commissioned artworks, interpreted into seasonal prints of map-like desert and sea landscapes.
“For this collection, I was inspired by the caravans that would carry goods along with this vast network. I enjoyed inventing the camels in painted form, and imagining the kind of goods they would be carrying, juxtaposing notions of luxury and labor,’’ says Raitt.
Aydin’s personal favourite, the prints come in camel shades and oceanic blue on Cuban collar shirts and utility pants, as well as a black and white sharp leather coat.
“The key pieces are definitely the oversized carpet monogram jacquard hoodie and cargo pants with the silk road inspired allover print painted by Neil Raitt. I’m very open to partner up with artists and painters to create unique artworks that bring the story alive from different points of views,” Aydin adds.