Lamia AlOtaishan Aydin Unveils Les Benjamins SS24 Collection Inspirations

Embarking on a captivating journey through the seas of creativity, Les Benjamins, the avant-garde Istanbul-based streetwear label, unveils its Spring/Summer 2024 collection, a sailing-inspired marvel known as 'Kismet Voyage East to West.' In an exclusive conversation with Lamia AlOtaishan Aydin, the Head of Womenswear, we dive into the depths of this range that weaves together comfort, futurism, heritage and functionality.

This collection draws inspiration from Turkey's rich heritage, paying homage to the legendary Sadun Boro, the first Turkish amateur sailor to circumnavigate the globe by sailing vessel. Much like Boro's journey from East to West, Les Benjamins takes wearers on an expedition and named after his remarkable voyage and cherished sailing boat, 'Kismet-Fortune,' the 'Kismet Voyage East to West' collection channels Boro's performance, sailing ability, and pursuit of excellence.

The collection features lightweight nylon fabrics, degraded leathers, recycled materials, and playful nods to vintage oil posters and sailing recruitment adverts as well as silk, tailored fabrics, structured shapes, and a vibrant color palette inspired by marine life. With featured graphics inspired by Sadun Boro's personal passion for tailoring and fashion, the collection is a blend of nostalgia, innovation, and maritime allure.

Aydin provides exclusive insights into the creative process, inspirations, and design highlights that make the 'Kismet Voyage East to West' collection a distinctive and sought-after addition to Les Benjamins' repertoire. As the collection sets sail online and in stores, Aydin offers a glimpse into the brand's commitment to pushing boundaries and crafting narratives that transcend the ordinary in the world of fashion.

What inspired you to choose Sadun Boro's sailing journey as the theme for the SS24 collection?

Lamia AlOtaishan Aydin: Benji and I were inspired by his journey of the unknown. Back then, you didn't have any technology, and going on a voyage meant you needed to calculate and navigate traditional forms. Sadun’s journey inspires and gives you strength to dream big. We always like to tell stories of the East and combine them with our own vision.

How did you blend comfort, futurism, heritage, and functionality in the 'Kismet Voyage East to West' collection?

Silhouette, fabrics, patterns, trims, and graphics. We used the main sail of the sailing boat as a form that is translated to textile panels on denim, leather, and tailoring. The iconic gradient Les Benjamins carpet monogram was translated with a degraded ocean allover. It feels like the carpet pattern sank inside the sea which is a metaphor of us bringing Eastern stories back to life through Les Benjamins.

Can you elaborate on the creative process behind incorporating nautical-inspired details and avant-garde pieces?

The creative process involved a lot of research and inspiration drawn from all nautical elements – from the sailing boat's interior and exterior, to the sea and what’s in the ocean, as well. We integrated these elements into our designs through silhouettes, fabrics and details such as macrame (a key detail with balancing the traditional sailing details with avant-garde influences to create a unique collection).

How do you think the 'Kismet Voyage East to West' collection caters to the modern woman who appreciates both comfort and style?

Les Benjamins Woman is independent and confident and sometimes moody.

In designing the collection, did you consider the preferences of female consumers, and if so, how did that influence your choices in materials, cuts, and details?

When I design, I always imagine key female role models and I also think about what my friends would like to wear. I think, as a designer, you always daydream about your friends wearing what you design. At least, that’s what I feel. Every style of Les Benjamins' bag is named after my friend. I always look at the final design and find the name that matches.

The vibrant color palette inspired by marine life is captivating. How do you envision women incorporating these colors into their wardrobes?

You can mix, match and tone down the blues. I like seasonal irregularities these days. Everyone’s unique expression is what excites me. It’s time for maximalism and I feel the minimal movement is coming to an end or slowing down.

The tailored fabrics and structured shapes in the second part of the collection suggest sophistication. How do you see women embracing and personalizing these elements in their fashion choices?

Whoever is wearing it should be able to express their individual style. The collection is very versatile so it all comes down to how they feel on the day.

The “Lulu" and "Shai" bags have unique silhouettes that can be dressed up and down. What inspires your approach for handbags as well as the choice of colourways?

The main inspirations are my friends and nature. Our first bag that we crafted was actually called "Mona" and the signature design element that you see in majority of our bags are the curved corners that were drawn from the contours of the cliff. Every bag embodies an element reminiscent of one of my friends.