With a career that consists of mixing cultures in one big melting pot, German-born designer Bunyamin Aydin is no stranger to storytelling and creating exceptional pieces. The originally Turkish designer began his larger-than-life adventure in 2011, embarking on a global quest to merge fashion and culture and sticking to an East-meets-West initiative. And now, armed with endless passion and a knack for streetwear, the designer redefines the notion of culture by boasting a hybrid design philosophy with his brand “Les Benjamins”.
Picking up the pace with his charismatic energy, we had a little conversation with Bunyamin Aydin to find out more about his streetwear brand.
Could you tell us more about yourself? How did you become a designer?
I knew since high school that I wanted to become a designer. My artistic sides were always at a higher interest to me. Photography is still a passion and I learned photography from film to digital, but designing clothing, and experiences is what excites me the most as a creative.
You were born and raised in the West. How did you manage to incorporate both your eastern and western roots into your pieces?
Growing up in Germany and Switzerland, I always admired my heritage as well as my culture, which was unknown to me. Discovering it day to day and researching other people’s cultures soon became an addiction. Now, Les Benjamins is all about ethnic storytelling. I’m kind of a hybrid myself. It just comes naturally.
How would you describe the aesthetic behind Les Benjamins?
Les Benjamins is a hybrid of culture and comfort. Street culture and technology bring us all together globally. Les Benjamins is more like a cultural movement that empowers people from diverse backgrounds and educates people about differences in cultures. Photography is part of the subculture of Les Benjamins and I’m known for creating culturally striking collages and culturally infused details on clothing.
What is it about culture and history that appeals to you?
I just love meeting people from different backgrounds. Rather than seeing it as a difference, I see it as a beauty.
You were the only Middle Eastern designer to be shortlisted for the Nike campaign. Could you tell us more about this endeavor?
Nike approached me to be part of their global Nike campaign “vote forward” and asked me to redefine the future of Air Max. I designed my “Carpet Swoosh” that was inspired by a Turkish carpet and I used it on the body of an Air Max 97. I chose the sole to be a Vapor Max, because I wanted to put a detail of the future. A mix between old and new. It’s like putting an update on culture.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve had to face?
The biggest challenge is always to find people that know more than you. Living in Turkey or in the Middle East, it’s very difficult to find likeminded individuals who have the same outlook; people who know the industry well and have a strong network are usually rare. They also try to keep that knowledge for themselves, which in my opinion is very bad for the evolution of the region. Therefore, I’m executing many talks at Universities as well as Conferences to openly share my good and bad experiences. I’m also helping out young artists and designers in Turkey to show them the way and to give them a hand. This is something very important to me and I repeat the process all around the Middle East.
Do you have any advice for up-and-coming designers?
Do what you would appreciate. Find mentors from different industries that can take you to the next step. If I’m around in the city you live in, feel free to get in touch and hopefully I can give you a hand.
What’s next for Les Benjamins?
I’m designing a collaboration that I can’t talk about right now that will be launched during Sole DXB in December. Apart from that, I’ve also been invited by Pitti Uomo to do my presentation of FW1819 in Florence. We are also opening stores all around the world starting from China, USA, and soon in the UAE.