In a world where people are quick to divide based on their differences, one fashion brand is working to unite us all.
Bunyamin Aydin, the founder and creative director of contemporary fashion label Les Benjamins, tells A Plus that, first and foremost, he wants to spread positivity in the fashion industry. "[Between myself and] Les Benjamins," he says "... I would like to give hope to the youth, and people who live in culture clashes, that we all can live together."
The theme of uniting cultures is present in Aydin's designs, and was inspired by his own history. He was born and raised in Germany until he was 12, when he and his Turkish parents moved to Turkey.
In his biography Aydin says he likes to "fuse both historical icons and today's heroes" into his designs, melting people, historical events, and current events into a beautiful construct.
In January, Les Benjamins presented their Autumn/Winter 2016 menswear collection, Ottoman Punk in Milan. The unique show was made complete with Sufi whirling Dervishes, tattooed models, and spectacularly intricate designs.
"Sufi Dervishes [are] about abandoning one's egos or personal desires by listening to the music, focusing on God, and spinning one's body in repetitive circles, which has been seen as a symbolic imitation of planets in the Solar System orbiting the sun," says Aydin.
Mu Tunc, the brand director at Les Benjamins, tells A Plus that Aydin wanted to turn the presentation into a form of art using the venue's architecture, performance, and decor.
"He wants to achieve this whole combination, but in a very mystical and artistic way," Tunc says. It's one that's less obvious, but perhaps more powerful.
In regards to the clothing itself, the Ottoman punk theme is evident in the details of the collection, such as in the shape of a bomber jacket, or the oriental carpet pattern on the side of a t-shirt.
"Patch pockets, studded trims and curvilinear jacquards reflect the mathematical harmonies of galaxies — echoing Les Benjamins unique perspective laced with esoteric optimism," the collection's press release states.
Tunc further explains that fashion is a source of connection between people and their daily lives: It has the potential to unite people together simply as an element of dress.
And that's a huge point to consider.
"We all need positivity these days, because right now, people are closing doors between one another ... It's so hard, but people like us should change this," Tunc says.
To this point, Aydin notes that making a difference requires one to take risks. "And even if everyone goes against you, go through with your belief and find those special people who believe in your vision.
Most people are takers — be a giver. They will think you're stupid, but they don't know the pleasure of giving."