Regional label Les Benjamins makes its Paris Men’s Fashion Week debut

Les Benjamins unveiled its Fall/Winter 2020 collection. (Supplied)
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Updated 18 January 2020

Regional label Les Benjamins makes its Paris Men’s Fashion Week debut

DUBAI: Les Benjamins is a street wear brand that is very proud of its regional roots — and it showed its latest collection at Paris Men’s Fashion Week on Friday at Palais De Tokyo.

Although it’s men’s fashion week, the brand showed looks for both men and women. The creative director and founder behind this young brand is Turkish designer Bunyamin Aydin, who previously collaborated with Puma. The brand, which is set to open a store in Dubai, is a regular fixture at pop up culture events in the region, including at Dubai’s annual urban festival, Sole DXB.




(Supplied)

Aydin spoke to Arab News about the inspiration behind his latest collection.

“I love unfolding stories from the East that are untold and redefining culture by moving it forward. It’s like giving an update on our culture.”

Friday’s show was an important moment for the 30-year-old talent — he has previously shown in Milan, but this was his debut catwalk presentation in Paris.




(Supplied)

“Paris is the center of the fashion world, it is where everyone gets together and it also a right place to take a message,” he said.  

The show made a clear statement about how fashion has now become more diverse, global and inclusive in its attitude with its international shapes and cuts, from smooth leather trench coats to jacquard knit dresses.

Les Benjamins’ Fall/Winter 2020 is inspired by the 1970s psychedelic rock moment in Turkey. “What I call the Wild Wild East,” the designer said.




(Supplied)

Colors such as mustard yellow and pomegranate red are a nod to the Middle East, while the use of tapestry details  speak of the creative director’s heritage.

The fashion show reflected how mindsets are changing as we start a new decade.


Farm to table: Lebanese initiative ‘From the Villages’ celebrates local talent 

Updated 20 October 2020

Farm to table: Lebanese initiative ‘From the Villages’ celebrates local talent 

DUBAI: In an act of solidarity with Lebanon’s villagers, farmers and local artisans, a group of innovative Lebanese graduates are operating an online platform that provides a wide array of their homemade products and crafts to those residing mainly in Beirut, as well as other cities across the country. 

At a time when a number of businesses were closing down, “From the Villages” was born from the COVID-19 lockdown in May. It all started through a fateful conversation between a few individuals who wanted to share good quality produce and foods from their southern, fertile village of Deir Mimas with others.

“Because people in their villages don’t find markets to sell (at), we thought why don’t we sell this food online?” the e-platform’s managing partner Hani Touma told Arab News. “By using technology and having a platform, they can sell their products and reach a wider range of customers.” 

The team designed their website and launched a couple of days later, with a few available items. Today, its offerings have expanded and clients can access a variety of 25 product categories, which include herbs, dairies, jams, olives, syrups, distillates, soaps and pottery. An eco-friendly project, all of the products are minimally packaged and locally made by nearly 50 artisans and farmers, living in 20 villages, mostly from the south.  

“We’re working with real household people,” said Touma. “Some of the ladies that we work with are 60, 70 years old and this is their only job. It started as a fun project and now it’s growing. We’re helping a lot of the suppliers and they’re having regular income, although it’s going up and down because of the economic situation in Lebanon.” 

Prior to the spread of COVID-19, Lebanon was already suffering from decades-long mismanagement and a financial crisis, in which citizens couldn’t access their bank savings, unemployment and inflation spiked and the Lebanese Lira devalued exponentially. 

In addition, Lebanon stands far from its full potential when it comes to local agricultural production as it imports more than 80 percent of its food items. The efforts of Touma, his business partner Sari Hawa, along with their tightly knit team of experts, are amongst the latest aiming to cultivate a culture of homegrown food concepts through grassroots initiatives.  

“Now, even the products imported have started to be missing from the supermarkets,” explained Touma. “I think this was why ‘From the Villages’ grew very fast, because people were not able to find some of their food – like jams, for example. They were all imported from outside. But now, you have a local product available directly at your doorstep.”

Following the deadly Beirut port explosion on Aug. 4, the “From the Villages” team suspended operations for a month and is currently slowly picking up again by carrying out deliveries twice per week. “Everything is working against us,” said Touma, “but we’re trying to stay on the ground and fix everything.”