Les Benjamins unveils Coca-Cola collaboration with campaign shot in Riyadh and Dubai

Les Benjamins x Coca-Cola photographed by Chndy in Riyadh.
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Updated 18 November 2020

Les Benjamins unveils Coca-Cola collaboration with campaign shot in Riyadh and Dubai

DUBAI: Fashion’s fixation with food and drink is no secret. In recent years, a number of brands have cooked up edible-themed accessories, including McDonald’s cups crafted into shoulder bags from Moschino and lait de coco clutches by Chanel. Other designers took it a step further by joining forces with popular eateries, such as Alber Elbaz designing macaroons for Ladurée and Saudi womenswear designer Arwa Al-Banawi collaborating with fast food joint KFC on a streetwear capsule collection in February.

Now Middle Eastern streetwear label Les Benjamins has teamed up with Coca-Cola on a limited edition range of clothing for men and women.




Les Benjamins x Coca-Cola photographed by Chebmoha in Dubai.

“Coca-Cola approached me last year and told me that they were looking for a streetwear brand in the Middle East that is on a global level,” Les Benjamins designer Bunyamin Aydin explained to Arab News. “I personally love the brand and therefore accepted the collaboration.”

The designer, who is of German and Turkish origin, said that he sought inspiration for his designs from ‘80s football culture. Football legends Pele and Maradona served as the muses for the collection, which is apparent in the line-up of football jerseys boasting jacquard and retro stripes. There are also pullovers, shirts, socks and caps all bearing the Coca-Cola logo.

“The stitched labels are inspired by real Coca-Cola advertisements from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s,” Aydin said, adding that the denim coach jacket is one of his favorite pieces from the collaboration.




Les Benjamins x Coca-Cola photographed by Chebmoha in Dubai.

The designer nods to his roots with the brand’s signature red-and-black carpet print, while the logo-emblazoned tracksuits could be popular.

Due to the pandemic, all campaigns and projects are strictly digital and this new collaboration is no exception.

With a knack for bridging the East and West, the designer tapped Iraqi and Omani photography duo Chebmoha and Chndy to shoot the locally produced campaign in Dubai and Riyadh.




Les Benjamins x Coca-Cola photographed by Chndy in Riyadh.

Aydin founded his luxury, mostly unisex brand at the age of 19 in 2011 in Istanbul. Since then, the brand has achieved worldwide recognition with more than 60 retailers worldwide across at least 20 countries.

As well as championing the streetwear culture that he hails from, Aydin has tapped into the collective sensibility of youth culture. The designer is a prolific collaborator, who has joined forces with the likes of Nike on a pair of limited edition AF1s and Puma on a range of trainers.

The designer and creative director has also made it a point throughout his career to support the local community. That’s why he recently teamed up with Dubai-based streetwear festival Sole DXB on a podcast titled “Homeroom” that serves to uplift the youth in the region.




Les Benjamins x Coca-Cola photographed by Chndy in Riyadh.

“The Sole team and I always look at the bigger picture, which is keeping the region together. I see the Sole team as my friends and almost everything we have done so far was to build youth culture,” he said.

Going from strength to strength, the streetwear brand has expanded its collections by introducing swimwear, footwear and even facemasks, which raises the question: Is there anything Les Benjamins won’t do?

“Let’s say imagination is limitless,” mused Aydin. “I’m working on new categories, which I want to keep as a surprise.”


Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

Nutrition is the most important part when it comes to bodybuilding, then comes type of exercise, and good rest. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2020

Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

  • Ali Al-Salam, who stopped consuming animal products in 2017, says certain steps must be completed to have an athletic body

JEDDAH: The vegan diet has risen in popularity in Saudi Arabia in recent years and has been a constant topic of debate among Saudis, attracting the interest of many, including athletes.

Ongoing debates about whether the vegan diet is sufficient for normal people, let alone bodybuilders, abound, but one Saudi is answering them physically.
Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.
Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease, but other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.
Speaking to Arab News, 33-year-old Saudi vegan bodybuilder, Ali Al-Salam, who first started his vegan diet three years ago when he was suffering from high blood pressure, highlighted that the consumption of animal products is a deep rooted idea among bodybuilders and athletes.
“We always hear that in order to build muscle, we must consume animal products. In some parts of the world, there are people who can only have a small amount of animal products yet they live their lives healthily and comfortably and are not suffering from malnutrition — on the contrary, they have a lower level of chronic illnesses.”

When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.

Ali Al-Salam, Saudi vegan bodybuilder

He said it also opened his eyes to what goes on in the dairy and meat industry; he began researching in 2016 and decided to become vegan in 2017.
“I was just like every other athlete, I used to consume a high amounts of protein. I remember in the last days before turning vegan, I used to have 10 egg whites and a piece of steak for breakfast to fulfil my protein needs. This made me think, ‘is this the only way to consume protein?’ And from then on, I started researching and got introduced to the vegan diet at a larger scale,” he said.
“When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.”
He explained that bodybuilding does not solely rely on protein, and that there are steps that must be completed in order to reach an athletic body. Nutrition is the most important part, then comes type of exercise, and good rest.
“When we talk about good nutrition, it does not just rely on protein. Yes, it is important, but the amount of calories in general is more important,” he said.
“Let’s say you needed 200 grams of protein, does that mean if you consumed 200 grams of it, you would gain muscle? No. You need all the basic nutrients to reach a certain amount of calories in general,” he added.
He highlighted that as soon as people register for gym memberships, they immediately look for supplements because they think they cannot reach the needed amount of protein.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.

• Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease.

• But other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.

• Vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants.

• Animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.

“I’m talking about non-vegans here too, where their protein intake is already high. Marketing plays a big role here. People link protein to animal products because our society grew up with this idea as well.
“Can a vegan build muscle? Yes, when they eat right, exercise correctly and rest well. The misconception about protein stems from amino acids. People think vegan food lacks amino acids, and only animal products are full of them and that is far from the truth,” he added.
When comparing vegan athletes to regular athletes, he said vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants which helps greatly in recovery, and because “animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.”