Other designers took it a step further by joining forces with popular eateries, such as Alber Elbaz designing macaroons for Ladurée and Saudi womenswear designer Arwa Al-Banawi collaborating with fast food joint KFC on a streetwear capsule collection in February.
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“Coca-Cola approached me last year and told me that they were looking for a streetwear brand in the Middle East that is on a global level,” Les Benjamins designer Bunyamin Aydin explained to Arab News. “I personally love the brand and therefore accepted the collaboration.”
The designer, who is of German and Turkish origin, said that he sought inspiration for his designs from ‘80s football culture. Football legends Pele and Maradona served as the muses for the collection, which is apparent in the line-up of football jerseys boasting jacquard and retro stripes. There are also pullovers, shirts, socks and caps all bearing the Coca-Cola logo.
“The stitched labels are inspired by real Coca-Cola advertisements from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s,” Aydin said, adding that the denim coach jacket is one of his favorite pieces from the collaboration.
The designer nods to his roots with the brand’s signature red-and-black carpet print, while the logo-emblazoned tracksuits could be popular.
Due to the pandemic, all campaigns and projects are strictly digital and this new collaboration is no exception.
With a knack for bridging the East and West, the designer tapped Iraqi and Omani photography duo Chebmoha and Chndy to shoot the locally produced campaign in Dubai and Riyadh.
Aydin founded his luxury, mostly unisex brand at the age of 19 in 2011 in Istanbul. Since then, the brand has achieved worldwide recognition with more than 60 retailers worldwide across at least 20 countries.
As well as championing the streetwear culture that he hails from, Aydin has tapped into the collective sensibility of youth culture. The designer is a prolific collaborator, who has joined forces with the likes of Nike on a pair of limited edition AF1s and Puma on a range of trainers.
The designer and creative director has also made it a point throughout his career to support the local community. That’s why he recently teamed up with Dubai-based streetwear festival Sole DXB on a podcast titled “Homeroom” that serves to uplift the youth in the region.
“The Sole team and I always look at the bigger picture, which is keeping the region together. I see the Sole team as my friends and almost everything we have done so far was to build youth culture,” he said.
Going from strength to strength, the streetwear brand has expanded its collections by introducing swimwear, footwear and even facemasks, which raises the question: Is there anything Les Benjamins won’t do?
“Let’s say imagination is limitless,” mused Aydin. “I’m working on new categories, which I want to keep as a surprise.”
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