This season LES BENJAMINS’ pays homage to the guest workers that rebuilt Germany after the war–one of whom being the grandfather of the brand’s creative director, Bunyamin Aydin. “He was a welder, and was one of the first guest workers from Turkey. Him taking the courage to leave his small village in east anatolia, where they had almost no literacy rate, still serves as a major inspiration to me.”With many guest workers supposed to leave the country after two years, but with the majority staying for good, the collection is an exploration of the duality and multiplicity of integration and de-integration.
Split into two stories:leaving Anatolia, which expresses the art of the long goodbye at the train station, where guest workers and their families would wear their finest tailoring. And living in Germany, which draws on the duplicity between the utilitarian workwear that helped guest workers assimilate to their new host countries, and the nostalgic elements of ‘home’ that they held sacred once they finished the work day. Each showpiece serves as an ode to a particular migrant job, varying from garbagemen and welders to factory women, tailors and nurses. Cleaning gloves are crafted from butter-soft leather to combine the luxury-meets-heritage take on workwear, meanwhile German and Turkish typography share equal space on garments in a bid to illustrate the train journey taken to leave the country.