Chris Collie, Editor-in-Chief of FWO, was named one of the "Best Dressed Men" at New York Fashion Week by Esquire.

Christian Benner: Rock of Ages

Story by Chris Collie, NY Senior Editorial Director

CBenner1One of the nation’s most in-demand underground fashion designers in New York, Christian Benner is one-of-a-kind. Well,
“underground” may not be the best word for someone who has outfitted the likes of Kate Moss, Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars with his custom leather jackets and vintage-distressed t-shirts with an iconic, rock n’ roll feel.

The famed designer whose work has been seen in the pages of Italian Vogue, Rolling Stone, W Magazine, Interview and countless others, granted us a rare interview to learn more behind the genius of his creations.

Supermodel Kate Moss in vintage Christian Benner jacket
Supermodel Kate Moss in vintage Christian Benner jacket

Q:What was your inspiration for starting a collection?

I’ve been working in the fashion industry for years, and want to get away from the cookie-cutter pieces you see everywhere. My collection gives people the chance to express their individuality.

My collection gives people the chance to express their individuality.

Q:What would you say is your style aesthetic?
Rock and roll mixed with my personal form of art.

CBJacket

Q:If you could collaborate with any designer, past or present day, who would it be, and why?

Firstly, Jackson Pollock because he never really planned any of his art. He used the canvas to express what was going on in his head, which is my approach when making jackets. I also would have liked to collaborate with Steven Sprouse because he treated clothes with the same aesthetic that I do by retreating vintage pieces and adding his own flare.

Jackson Pollock used the canvas to express what was going on in his head.

CBenner3Q:Of all the pieces you’ve created, what has been your favorite, that always stands out in your mind?

My Jackson Pollock jacket. I’m really inspired by Jackson Pollack at the moment, and treated the jacket as my own canvas by splattering paint all over it.

Q:Do you see fashion changing toward the consumer preferring more custom pieces; do you believe it’s an extended trend?

The consumer absolutely prefers custom pieces because the consumer feels special wearing something made for them. Most people are usually wearing the same or similar things, so when something is custom, it really stands out.

The consumer feels special wearing something made for them.

Q:Whom would you say is the ideal Christian Benner male or female?

Sid Vicious or Prince.

Q:What do you feel about Men’s Fashion Week finally being brought back to New York?

I feel it’s great. It will allow men to get out of their shell more and see / try different fashion trends.

Q:When was the moment you knew you were destined to be a mainstay in fashion?

I knew I wanted to stay in fashion when I finally got the chance to clear my head and realized that I wanted to create my art and share it with the public.

Q:Do you feel the new era of designers are good for the industry with their new collaboration collections, or is it hurting the individualism that fashion was known for?

CBenner2Certain brands are staple brands and should keep doing what they are doing instead of trying to monetize and reach more clients through collaborations. New designers are what we need to introduce a new style. It can go both ways … if done right, it could be cool.

New designers are what we need to introduce a new style.

FWO

We want to thank Christian Benner for giving us the time to explore the mentality of such a unique and famed designer. During NY Fashion Week: Men’s, we couldn’t think of a better person to interview who captures creativity, individualism, and what menswear truly is about: a self-expression of one’s style through clothes worn as art.