Umit Benan

Umit Benan is gearing up to launch a namesake women’s wear line.

The Turkish designer said that the first collection will include about 60 pieces and that it is expected to be ready in January.

“We are already producing 80 percent of the samples but we are still looking for two additional laboratories,” said Benan. “Women’s wear must be precise, the hand must be impeccable. Men’s wear is more about style than product, women’s wear is the opposite.”

The designer is currently in Tokyo, where tomorrow night he will unveil his latest men’s spring collection with a runway show sponsored by Tokyo Fashion Week and the Japanese government.

“The government is marketing Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games and they are organizing a series of activities, including pushing the domestic fashion week,” said Benan. His Tokyo event marks the designer’s return to the catwalk, which he decided to abandon last spring. “For me, shows used to be exciting moments orchestrated in a very joyful, spontaneous way. When I started missing that feeling, I decided to take a step back,” he explained. “But this opportunity in Tokyo was superinteresting and it’s giving me a great injection of energy.”

Benan revealed that the upcoming show will feature that cinematic approach that has been characterizing his events since the beginning. “The collection is called Los Bastardos and portrays Mexican men who cross the U.S. border to work in Texas,” he said. Mexican fabrics with an ethnic feel and bright colors, including yellow and pink, will be matched with Western details, such as the piping decorating the shirts. “It won’t be about the cowboy look, but how the style of these Mexican men is influenced by the Western aesthetic.”

Japan represents the most important market for the brand, which is now sold in about 40 stores between the Far East and Europe.

“When I stopped showing, I started being able to concentrate more on certain aspects of the company and I decided to reorganize the distribution in Japan, where we arrived to be present in 60 stores,” Benan said. “It was too much. For us it’s very important to be selective and extremely attentive.”

Benan added that for the first time he managed to have his brand sold in a store in Milan. “We entered Excelsior with the latest men’s collection and it was quickly sold out — Europe is working surprisingly well.”

The company has also recently launched an online store. “I love it because I can test products immediately, it’s a great added value for us,” Benan remarked.

The designer said that he doesn’t know where he will be presenting his men’s and women’s collections in the future. “I have no idea right now but it will be a place where I feel I can be a great host for my guests.”

Benan’s only other foray into women’s wear was as Trussardi creative director in the 2011-13 period.

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