The Benjamins and Scabal will dress Olympic athletes from Turkey and Belgium – WWD

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Istanbul-based fashion label Les Benjamins unveiled their uniforms for the Turkish Olympic team for the Tokyo Summer Olympics on Wednesday.

And Scabal has partnered with the Belgian Olympic and Paralympic Committees as an official Team Belgium official clothing partner for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The company is one of many brands linked to national teams, individual athletes or corporate sponsors who anticipate the Summer Games after last year’s postponement. As COVID-19 cases increase in parts of Japan and vaccine rollout does not keep pace with some other countries, some critics are still calling for a cancellation to avoid further health risks.

The Tokyo Summer Games are scheduled to start on July 24 and run through August 9. Financially, there is a lot at stake. At the end of last year, organizers put the cost of the Games at $ 15.4 billion. Already struggling ticket sales have been further affected by concerns over coronavirus variants and travel restrictions in some countries.

At the next Games, Scabal, a Brussels-based family business, will dress all male team members for official and special events. The company will dress more than 250 people, including Olympic and Paralympic athletes and supporters of Team Belgium.

For the unveiling of Les Benjamin, Creative Director Bunyamin Aydin hosted a presentation in Istanbul to launch the designs that feature special mosaic monogram patterns on the Nike jerseys and apparel athletes will wear during the Games, marking the designer as the first to partner with the National of Turkey. The Olympic team and the Ministry of Youth and Sports on uniforms.

Pieces such as shirts, shorts, jackets, tracksuits, windbreakers and accessories in black, blue and country red are adorned with designs that represent four pillars: authenticity, unity, creativity and diversity.

“This journey, inspired by our roots, has come to this point by being combined with my own design language,” Aydin said. “I would like to thank the Ministry of Youth and Sports, who believed in me from the very beginning and to this day, and Dr Nazan Ölçer, who supported me with his predictions. I wish our athletes success at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. ”

Aydin said he met the athletes representing Turkey for the Olympics to learn about their performance and aesthetic needs. He met with Turkish art historian and author Nazan Ölçer to research Anatolian rugs, which served as inspiration for his symbols.

He wanted the designs to be as minimal as possible. Monograms adorn the sleeves and back of the team’s track jacket, as well as the sleeves of other pieces and the sides of the T-shirts. “The minimal placement is something I love,” Aydin said.

He added, “We have created our own symbols and are passing those values ​​on to the next generation. Combining them creates the identity of the design I made. It will be used for the next four years of sporting events.

Although the uniforms are not available for purchase, Aydin said he was in talks to make it happen. “They’ve never worked with a designer my size before,” he said. “It’s so important for Turkey to do something like this.”

The uniforms of the Turkish Olympic team by Les Benjamins
Hamdi Atay

This milestone is a looping moment for Aydin, who views Japanese fashion and street culture as a “huge influence” and also found success using rugs on his products in 2015. He took it a step further in 2017 by creating monogram carpet designs for his collection presented in Milan. The collection caught Nike’s attention and invited the designer to participate in their Air Max Day Vote Forward campaign.

But the interest in rugs and carpets, as well as fashion design, comes from Aydin’s parents. “Both my parents are in fashion,” he says. “My father passed away in 2009, but he was on the fabric and production side and my mother owned a store. I bought trips with my mom and met designers with my dad.

His parents, along with Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Hiroshi Fujiwara, inspired Aydin to launch Les Benjamins with the desire to connect the US and UK with Turkey in the same way he thinks Fujiwara l did for Japan.

As for the rugs, Aydin said his father would pick them up. “The Grand Bazaar has so many carpet stores,” he said. “Maybe because I lost it, it also had sentimental value.”

Since its inception in 2011, Les Benjamins has been available in 60 stores in 20 countries, with the Middle East as its largest market. The brand opened two stores in Istanbul, opened a third in Dubai in October, and in 2020 saw 160% growth in online sales compared to 2019, as well as a 70% increase in retail sales. .

The brand also recently secured venture capital funding from Esas Holding, which will help the brand open stores in the United States in 2022. “They help me focus only on creative design,” Aydin said. . “The plan is to open New York and Los Angeles in 2022.

“We want to be a retail brand with a strong e-commerce platform,” he added. “We have designed jewelry, sunglasses, widened product categories, created our own perfume, also worked on furniture and deployed children’s clothing, which is very successful. There are some collaborations that I can’t mention, but I can tell you that there are a lot of exciting things to come, especially the opening of our store in New York.

With extensive production and bespoke craftsmanship, the Savile Row Scabal tailor offers outfits individually tailored to meet the needs of each male athlete. The brand uses a lightweight, breathable and wrinkle-resistant fabric for added comfort to offset the scorching Tokyo temperatures. July and August are Tokyo’s hottest months with relative humidity hovering around 80%.

With more than 80 years of experience, Scabal develops each of its fabrics after years of research which involves the use of noble raw materials, advanced weaving and finishing techniques.

The deal was revealed by Belgian Olympic Committee CEO Philippe Vander Putten, Scabal Executive Chairman Gregor Thissen and Belgian field hockey player Simon Gougnard. BIOC Marketing and Communications Director, Dieter Reyntjens, said: “For the best Belgian athletes, we were looking for an elegant collection, offering optimal comfort in Japanese hearing and humidity, but above all adapted to the body of each. athlete. “

He also underlined the “remarkable know-how of Scabal associated with the best natural materials and the guarantee of a perfect finish since each combination is made to measure”.

Scabal takes his artistic approach seriously. The company has already collaborated with the surrealist painter Salvador Dali for 12 works. These pieces showed how Dali envisioned the evolution of bespoke clothing in the 21st century. His art remains in the cellars of Scabal. The company’s ties to Hollywood include supplying the tuxedo worn by Marlon Brando’s “Vito Corleone” in “The Godfather” and nearly all of the 70 costumes worn by Robert DeNiro in “Casino”.

Scabal Executive Chairman Gregor Thissen spoke about the company’s commitment to Belgian athletes. “We are very happy to share values ​​such as excellence, respect and passion for all we do, in keeping with the spirit of the Olympic Games.”


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