Turkey’s Ministry for Youth and Sports commissions Nike and Les Benjamins creative director to design team Turkey’s sportswear for Tokyo 2020
Sports and fashion go to hand in hand, right? Well, athletes from many nations are gearing up to head to Tokyo 2020 next month and Turkey is ready to send off their Olympic and Paralympic athletes to the large Japanese metropolis in style. Bünyamin Aydın, creative director and founder of famed Turkish brand Les Benjamins, designed unique logo patterns and a special monogram for the official sportswear for his country’s athletes for Tokyo and he couldn’t be happier, or more patriotic.
“It all started back in 2019 when Nike and the Youth and Sports Ministry got in touch with me and asked me to design the looks for Tokyo 2020 and I was shocked really because Tokyo is one of my favorite cities, and Nike has been supporting me since day one,” beams Aydın. “It was an amazing feeling.”
Last night the various looks were unveiled at a presentation in the city of two continents, in Istanbul in a presentation show held at the Esma Sultan Mansion, where dignitaries like Mehmet Kasapoğlu, Minister of Youth and Sports attended.
Made from Nike jersey uniforms, Aydın took careful attention to every detail. And with a color palette of mainly red and white, with some navy blue looks, members from the Olympic and Paralympic teams sported their uniforms on a platformed stage. Aydın through a video presentation told his story of incorporating his Turkish heritage into making the logo.
“The journey started off going back to my heritage. With my own brand Les Benjamins, I was always inspired by carpets and rugs and the heritage of them- not just in Turkey but all around the world. But, designing for Turkey I had to focus on Anatolian rugs, which are from this country. I went to the city where they create Anatolian rugs, and I was with the villagers there and they told me how they do the craftsmanship behind creating their rugs. It helped me design and get more inspired. I also wanted to create a sartorial language with the designs. I wanted to give to the youth of Turkey the concept of creating something of their own, and get inspired by what I did because we don’t have a lot of global stories. For them to see what I’m doing they get motivated to create their own brands. I feel it’s a type of responsibility.”
For each of the Anatolian- inspired carpet symbols, Aydın gave them meaning: unity, diversity, creativity, and authenticity that all go back to Turkish roots, but using his own design language. “I want to pass this along to the next generation. And when you put them all together this is Turkey.” All four of these pillars are recognized on the athletic wear from the accessories, to hats, shorts, tracksuits, windbreakers, zippered tops, polos, and shirts.
Aydın launched Les Benjamins in 2011 as a streetwear brand, since then it has taken off becoming successful in Turkey and the Middle East, with expansion plans to be rolled out further in the US in the next couple of years, although the brand does well in Miami. His wife Lamia heads of the creative wing of womenswear. During the pandemic sales for the menswear and womenswear soared as athleisure was the dress of choice for the millions working from home.
The Olympic games will begin July 23 and last until August 8th, and the Paralympic games will start August 25 and go until September 5th.