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Interview: Akay Behchet from Les Benjamins

Tuesday 25 September 2012
Words Spindle

What’s the story behind the company?

We started off designing T-Shirts for friends and parties just for fun. After receiving so much good feedback and interest we decided to start our own brand. We never thought we would start a brand that will have cool prints and contain strong statements like “Be Famous or Dead,” which have amassed lots of positive feedback.

The brand is inspired by luxury, quality, trends, and identity. How do you go about fulfilling these objectives?

Actually these are answers of how we create a product from start to finish. Otherwise, if Les Benjamins is a world, luxury is the water, quality is the earth, trends are the fire and identity is the air. Therefore our products are the creatures that can be alive with this quarto.

The t-shirt designs are unique and dynamic. Tell us a bit about the process behind selecting specific slogans and images for different collections.

This is actually the most fun but also most challenging part of working in Les Benjamins. If you are familiar with this process, you will know what I mean.

It’s similar to cooking: music, street, movies, books etc, you have all of these ingredients and you sort off intuitively find the right way to make them into a delicious cake.

Which of your slogans has been the most successful so far?

Definitely as I mentioned before “Be Famous or Dead”; we root for your self-confidence. This statement is supported by our artistic prints that make the strong effect on our products when you see it for the first time.

“Act Like You Know” is the second most popular slogan that people like so much. The meaning behind this is to push people to be themselves.

How many people are involved in developing seed ideas into an end product?

We have a creative director and two designers involved in the development for the main ideas behind the men’s and women’s line. We also have full time and freelance graphic designers joining an accessories designer, a web designer, a code developer, social media developers, a blogger, a packaging designer, two pattern makers who specialized on men’s and women’s patterns, two merchandisers who follow our production, a person for sourcing, and freelance photographers, and a perfect manufacturer for production.

What makes Les Benjamins t-shirts special and what do you think the brand contributes to an arguably saturated t-shirt industry?

Surely we’ve hit the nail right on the head? The t-shirt industry is filled with vintage prints, dyed garments, erotic and cheap images. We do cool prints that are decorated with strong statements embracing a good combination with classic and popular images.

To express this in a different way, our t-shirts have value and idea. It’s not a repetition of 70’s, 80’s vintage tees or a top which is loaded with meaningless words and images.

As we are at present, people can wear more than just a t-shirt. They can wear it and relax, give a smart message, show your picture taste and be chic with tailored details and finally feel the difference between a quality fabric and poor fabric.

We believe we bring a new wave into the fashion industry and people appreciate and like to see new genesis that have an attitude, innovation, quality, style and idea behind Les Benjamins.

You’re already building an impressive celebrity archive, including girl-band Little Mix and Boxer David Haye. How much supports have you had from buyers and customers since launching the brand?

This is where we would like to thank all of our customers and fellow friends who support Les Benjamins and have spread the word of our brand. Most of all our friends of Les Benjamins have shown lots of interest and even advertised our brand in order to support and spread the vibe

What sources and designers inspire the brand?

The biggest source of inspiration is pop-culture and classic elements in general. Our creative team examines and defines a subtle bridge between classics and popular themes. Also music and social movements should not be underestimated aspects which decorate our products.

We have a special idea that always makes us creative and energetic. We believe and feel that we are type of 21st century costume makers, whereby people can find a cool combination to express their attitude well, yet maintain a smart and chic look.

Do you plan on expanding the brand or designing a greater range of garments in the future?

Of course we do. Handmade and craftsmanship jeans, sharp military wool coats, cool knits and more garments and accessories will join for the 2013 Fall collection.

You recently launched your designs in Harrods. Where else can we find and purchase your products?

At present they are only available in Harrods, London. Our Spring/Summer 2013 collection will hit the exclusive department stores in January in the following countries: France; Japan; USA; Italy; Turkey; Lebanon; Saudi Arabia; and soon in Korea; Emirates; Russia; and more cool locations. We will soon share more of the list of stockists on our website in early December.

Words: Abbie Saunders