3 May 2012


Born to Turkish parents in 1980 in Stuttgart, Germany, Umit Benan Sahin moved to Istanbul when he was two years old.

He lived there until the age of fifteen, dividing his time between school and work, the latter at his family’s textile company. At the age of 18 he moved to Boston to study marketing and public relations at college. Umit’s cosmopolitan and multicultural character began to emerge.
During his time in the United States he decided to become a fashion designer and so spent his summers in Milan taking drawing lessons. Upon earning his B.A. degree, Umit moved to Milan to follow the master’s program in Fashion Design at the Marangoni Institute. Over the subsequent two years he alternated between styling courses at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London and long periods at his father’s side in Istanbul learning all about textile techniques.

At 24, Umit returned to the U.S. and enrolled in the patternmaking course at Parsons The New School for Design, collaborating next with different brands.

In 2006 Umit settled in Milan. In 2009 he launched Umit Benan and promptly won, with his second collection, the first men’s edition of the Who’s On Next competition organized by Alta Roma in cooperation with Pitti Immagine and L’Uomo Vogue.

In 2011 Umit Benan Sahin started collaborating with Trussardi as fashion consultant for men and women’s collections.
His new assignment will have him redefining the look of the Trussardi men’s and women’s clothing collections, succeeding Milan Vukmirovic as creative director.

Umit Benan for Trussardi Men

Umit Benan Sahin's style is characterized by relaxed elegance, fine fabrics and impeccable workmanship – a wardrobe for today’s man with a touch of irony. He made his debut in January 2010 at Pitti Uomo 77 with a striking and emotional performance – an event that was hailed by buyers and the international press.

To the question “What has WHO IS ON NEXT? meant for your career?” Umit Benan answered: “It brought me visibility in Italy and the world. It also made my family very proud, and that means a great deal to me. I was looking straight into my father’s eyes when I got the award… it was a very special moment”.

During Milan Fashion Week in January 2012, Sahin showed a collection that would be described as the breakout of the men’s wear season. Umit Benan Fall 2012. This season he was showing his line on a runway for the first time, and promising a lot of sportswear options, the mark of a grown-up designer.

Mr. Sahin explained that for the catwalk he was picturing a moment, just after a war has ended, when the troops were preparing for a group portrait. “When I work on a collection, characters are really important to me,” Mr. Sahin said before the show. “They have to have a story behind them.”

Interestingly, it is Mr. Sahin’s story that people seem eager to know about. Daniel Peres, the editor of Details, described him as not only a great designer, but also a great guy. Terry Jones, the editor of i-D, is fascinated with Mr. Sahin’s tattoos, which in their own way tell his life story.

With his collection on in January, it seems Mr. Sahin has silenced his critics again. It is noted that the collection included some of the best takes on military uniforms seen in Milan in some time, with oatmeal-gray cargo pants and precisely structured suit jackets in thick loden wool, one of which closed just an extra inch or so off to the side. Critics agree the clothes are simply wearable, but the way he presented them made the clothes compelling in a broader way, just as Mr. Sahin had intended.

“Now I think people see me as a designer, and the people who buy my clothes are the ones who really follow the fashion world, so I need to expand,” Mr. Sahin said. “I need to start becoming more like a brand than just a designer. The machine has to start working like a brand, not just based on one character.”

I will of course be watching this space so should you! Umit Benan promises to create more entertaning and pleasing collections for the future.

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