A CINEMATOGRAPHIC STUDY OF CONTRASTS IN MASCULINITY
Umit Benan wanted to be a filmmaker, but diverted to fashion rather naturally, keeping the urge to tell stories intact. He makes no real distinction between life, fantasy and fiction because really there isn’t one. “I am interested in contrasts. That’s what life is all about, isn’t it?” he says. His clothes – real, bold, imaginative – follow suit.
Freedom of expression is Umit’s main goal in life and the reason he decided to be a fashion-maker. With each collection, he addresses issues that touch him personally, be it misconceptions around a beard, the ethos of outlaw artists who wander metropolitan streets at night or memories of a girlfriend who loved menswear.
“First I start with a story, then I sketch the timeline. Then I go onto the streets and I find people who could play that part of the scene I imagine. And finally I start sketching the clothes.”
Umit Benan uses clothes to build personas, putting to good use the multi-culti life experiences accumulated in a chaotic city full of contrasts such as Istanbul or the mingling of different characters and cultures experienced in the dorms of boarding school: from American psycho bankers to fishermen on the Bosphorus, from urban outcast and graffiti artists to Jackie Robinson, from Cuban jetsetters to retired rockers, from military men and karate prodigies to tennis players of a bygone era. It’s these mixes and frictions that get him going.
“I don’t like perfection” he states, having mastered the art of perfect imperfection. Street-casting, thereafter, becomes an essential tool: not as a show trick, however, but as an integral phase of the design process. When Umit finds the character who epitomizes the mood he has in mind for the season, he builds a whole fictional story around him, writing everything down in detail like the storyteller he is and finally getting down to the clothes.
THE ARCHIVE COLLECTIONS
GOD IS BLACK PART 2 – SS 2018
GOD IS BLACK PART 1 – SS 2018
ARTIST STUDIO – AW 2017
LOS BASTARDOS – SS 2017
TOKYO DIARIES – AW 2016
COMANDANTE – SS 2016
BOSPHORUS / ON THE WAY HOME – AW 2015
TENNIS CLUB DE CARTAGENA – SS 2015
HOME RUN – AW 2014
EFFENDI – SS 2014
ART BY NIGHT – AW 2013
I ONCE LOVED A WOMAN WHO LOVES MENSWEAR LOOK – AW 2013
MILITARY – AW 2013
INVESTMENT BANKERS – AW 2012
THIRD GENERATION ITALIANS – SS 2012
HOME SWEET HOME – SS 2011
RETIRED ROCKERS – AW 2011
CUBA – SS 2010
DAY 77 – AW 2009