Become an Insider Sign up for our newsletter and receive 10% off your next order

Designer Profile | Umit Benan

Thursday September 17, 2015


Umit Benan was born in Germany. When he was two years old, his family moved to Istanbul because his father went into the textile business, creating a factory. He lived there until he turned 14, then went to boarding school in Switzerland. From there, he moved to Boston for college, and began taking fashion classes in his sophomore year because he realized that’s what he really wanted to do.

Upon graduation, Benit went to Marangoni in Milan to study fashion design, then for half a semester he studied at Central Saint Martins for styling. For another year, he went back to Istanbul to work for his father, and was trained in knitwear and general production. Finally, Umit moved to New York and studied pattern-making for a year at Parsons, while gaining an opportunity to intern at Marc Jacobs and went on to work in womenswear.

In 2009, he started his own line, Umit Benan, and presented his first season at Pitti Uomo – for exposure. It definitely worked, as two days after the Tuesday that the collection was launched, Benan was written about in The New York Times as a new designer to watch, the following season, he won the best new designer in Italy, organized by Pitti.

The Fall Winter 2015 “Fisherman” Collection was based on the fishermen by the Bosporus. When Benan was growing up, he transferred to three or four different schools, but the houses was always on the Bosporus so the children had to travel to the inner cities of Istanbul to get to school.

You can either drive up the Bosporus and cross over to the cities or drive North and head over to the cities from there. It was the thought of the fine line between masculinity and femininity that came across the designer’s mind at the time, where in third-world countries you have men that say, “I don’t wear pink” and are very masculine but close minded, while if you go down the Bosporus, you see men, 50-60years old, with big bellies and facial hair, wearing extremely colorful clothes.

Sitting in the backseat of the drive, Benan have had the vision of creating a story based on the working class wearing a suit to work and then heading home to change into fishing clothes, and that’s exactly what he did for this Fall Winter 2015 collection.  

Umit Benan is now available in-store and online.

---Become a Roden Gray Insider

* indicates required