Les Benjamins is creating a new world order for Istanbul’s community of creatives. But in 2015, it’s as much about the world switching on to Istanbul as it is about how young Turks are representing worldwide. This season, the label rebelled against streetwear conformity and took things to the dark side: leather was the second skin of choice, with boys wearing Matrix-esque coats over futuristic sweatshirts and the brand’s signature satirical graphics. For the girls, demure pinafores were sexed up with embossed leather and rebel-inked lips – think the girl gang in The Craft, but scrubbed of any 90s nostalgia.
For founder and creative director Bunyamin Aydin, Les Benjamins escapes sportswear cliches through the culture clash of its home city and its roots in Ottoman culture. “You need to be yourself,” he says, citing the inauthenticity of brands that deny their eastern roots in favour of western fashion capitals. “I could have done a catwalk in Paris, but it’s cool to do it from Istanbul. I want the city to see this.”
Hair Maki Tanaka using Bumble and bumble; make-up Nobuko Maekawa using Sisley Skincare and Cosmetics; model Phoebe Collings-James at Eleventen; photographic assistant Lee Whittaker; fashion assistant Ioana Ivan; hair assistant Tracy Grabs