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For German-born designer, Umit Benan, fashion is about telling stories. His own story, traced in the faces, dates, and symbols tattooed on his arms, is one that begins in Germany, in 1980. Born to Turkish parents (both of whom are inked on their son’s sleeves), Umit spent most of his childhood in Istanbul. At the tender age of 14 he got his first tattoo: an angel holding a red heart. It was removed soon after. After graduating from high school in Lugano, Switzerland, at the age of 18 he moved to Boston to study marketing and public relations at college. During his time in the United States he decided to become a fashion designer and so spent his summers in Milan taking drawing lessons. Upon earning his B.A. degree, Umit moved to Milan to follow the master’s program in Fashion Design at the Marangoni Institute. Over the subsequent two years he alternated between styling courses at Central Saint Martins in London and long periods at his father’s side in Istanbul learning all about textile techniques.  At 24, Umit returned to the U.S. and enrolled in the patternmaking course at Parsons The New School for Design.Upon graduation, Umit took roles at Marc Jacobs, Pollini, and Cacharel, before setting up his eponymous label in 2009 and spending 2012 to 2013 as Creative Director of Trussardi. Now, it seems, with every collection he designs, he gets a new tattoo.


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