Umit Benan is the designer who more than anyone else is the spokesman for a taste for storytelling in fashion. The Turkish-born designer explores the craft of fashion-making as something more than a seasonal proposal of new shapes and templates, while avoiding the trap of creating images as an exercise in virtual style. It focuses on real clothes, intended to be worn by real men, with the aim of conveying a broader message, which is inexorably linked to the world in which he lives and to the things that concern him. His response to today’s reality takes the form of his collections, which are full of people dressed in clothes, not costumes. Aesthetics is always political, after all, because clothes are the membrane that connects the individual with society: a particularly striking visual.
As Benan himself says, however, his vision of menswear is linked to the classic world: “I prefer a classic with a modern touch but not totally streetwear and sportswear, as we use a lot today. “Every era in the past has had a well defined and recognizable style,” he continues, “when I think of the classics, I can’t help but mention Armani, Nino Cerruti, Gianni Versace, Prada. Today, however, no, everything is fine and everything is in the name of comfort, so doing it all ends up being a large print shop”.
The origins of Umit Benan
Born in Stuttgart to Turkish parents in 1980, he moved to Istanbul at the age of 2 and lived there until the age of 15, dividing his time between studying and working in the family textile company. He attended high school in Lugano, Switzerland, graduated in 1998 and immediately moved to Boston to study Marketing and Public Relations at the College. During his stay in the United States he decided to become a designer and began to spend a few summers in Milan to take drawing lessons.
After graduating, he moved to Milan to attend the Master’s courses in Fashion Design at the Istituto Marangoni. His debut in the fashion industry is marked by collaborations with Marc Jacobs, Sophie Théallet and his brand Motu Tane, as well as Rifat Ozbek at Pollini. Then, in 2009, he founded his own brand, and with the launch of his second collection he won the first prize of the men’s edition of Who’s On Next organized by Alta Roma. In 2012, Umit Benan became fashion consultant for Trussardi 1911, creating models for the men’s and women’s lines. His first men’s collection for spring-summer 2013 was shown on the catwalks of Milan.
The man autumn winter 2019 2020 collection
In the autumn-winter 2019 2020 collection God is black part. 2 , presented at 080 Barcelona Fashion, the designer starts from the concept of a Muslim man living in a polarized western world and acts as a spokesman for an assertive masculinity, channelling the controversial character of the black Muslim: a double enemy, by today’s standards, complete with cultural signifiers such as the tekke hat and the kaftan.
He is inspired by his heroes, Malcolm X and Tupac Shakur, representing them with his sartorial audacity. Field jackets, leisure suits, kaftans, classic tailored coats and cardigans are his interpretation of fashion destined to hit the streets. A wardrobe for elegant men who get their hands dirty. Refined but raw, authentic but rich in lively contrasts.