Christian Benner is a designer and visionary based in NYC. His work consists largely of distressing and revamping tees and leather goods to give them a new life. You’ve probably seen his pieces worn by musicians and celebrities alike. I was fortunate enough to chat with him about what influences him and what it’s like to be a designer. I find him to be extremely inspiring, and I hope you will too! Check out my look and interview below…
AP: How did you get started?
CB: I started making stuff for myself because I couldn’t find anything that fit my style out there. I took it upon myself to just make it for myself.
AP: Who is you fashion icon?
CB: Alexander McQueen as every piece is unique and a piece of artwork.
AP: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
CB: Everyday New York City as I try to spend a few hours everyday walking around and observing, especially in Lower Manhattan.
AP: What is the first piece you made?
CB: An american flag leather jacket.
AP: Do you have a mentor? If so, how did they help you?
CB: My record collection as I go through phases of music with each record inspiring me to create a new piece of art.
AP: What is the # 1 style rule that you live by?
CB: The only rule is…there are no rules.
AP: Where do you see ChristianBenner Custom 10 years from now?
CB: Hopefully to expand to a ready-to-wear level and have a full collection available in stores world-wide.
AP: What is the craziest experience you’ve had in this industry?
CB: Producing my first runway show and watching my collection come to life right before my eyes.
AP: What are some of the biggest challenges in starting your own line?
CB: Realizing that I could actually do it and getting over the fear of going out on my own.
AP: Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
CB: You just have to do it. Don’t think, just go with it.
Christian’s designs can be seen at www.christianbennercustom.com/. Be sure to follow him on Instagram as well (@ChristianBenner) for a behind the scenes look at his process, and for even more of his work.
Wearing: Christian Benner Custom Shirt | One TeaspoonShorts| Rebecca Minkoff Camera Bag (Similar) | Elle Macpherson Intimates Bra | Urban Outfitters Socks | Shoe Cult Shoes (Similar) |
It’s extremely important to tap into your creativity by exploring. Travel. Read. Watch videos. Listen to music. Find something or someone that interests you and research and research and research. Find someone who inspires you and once you’ve got a grasp on her(or him) find out who and what inspired THEM. And keep going.
I draw a lot of inspiration from music and film. Stevie Nicks has had a big influence on me. When I watch videos of her and hear her voice I get a spark not just from her style but from her passion. When I listen to Fleetwood Mac I get an energy and I translate that feeling through the way that I dress. I wear flowy dresses, crazy hats… I even get music themed nail art.
When people hear that I have a blog they automatically assume that I’m a “fashion” person, but that’s not it at all. Clothing helps me express myself. I almost see it as a form of art. Clothing can help you feel connected. Below is a video I took at the Fleetwood Mac concert this month. It’s Stevie Nicks discussing a clothing store in San Francisco called The Velvet Underground and how it inspired her. Hopefully it will spark something in you as well.