Unique pieces that carry with them the wind that sweeps away prejudices and constraints’. This is what’s stated in the description of BENNU’s SPRING23 collection, called Luce, available for sale on the brand’s online shop. This definition, by extension, perfectly summarises the entire spirit that permeates this project, where the rediscovery of local tailoring tradition merges with the assertion of a fluidity that characterises both gender and the relationships between human beings and nature. BENNU is a sprout that has blossomed from the land of Siena, more precisely from an idea by Niccolò Chiuppesi, the designer with a background at Yoox and Dior, who with his romantic and revolutionary spirit aims to ‘reclaim from the past to protect the future
‘Memory’ is the theme that resonates widely in the BENNU universe. Is there a specific memory you associate with love for fashion, or a particular garment?
‘Memory’ and its contamination are pillars of the BENNU universe, resulting in a satellite that revolves and cyclically influences the work and image of the brand. Although, I’ve memories associated with the birth of this passion for the world of fashion, I can’t pinpoint a specific moment, a sort of beginning. I’ve always lived in close contact with the tailoring world; my grandmother was a seamstress, and I often spent afternoons in her room. I believe that being in constant contact with clothes, fabrics, and needles unconsciously led me to make fashion my profession.
Let’s talk about a specific garment: the blazer. At BENNU, the structural reinterpretation of the blazer becomes a liberation from the categories and gender stereotypes that this garment has historically been imbued with. In the history of fashion and costume, there are prominent names who have worked on this garment to challenge its stylistic codes and the socio-cultural meanings attached to it (such as Yves Saint Laurent or Giorgio Armani, for example). How does BENNU’s approach to the blazer fit into the contemporary debate?
The choice to work on the blazer was driven by the multiple facets that this garment possess. Firstly, as you mentioned, the blazer is the perfect symbol to break free from all those filters and categorisations that’ve been limiting for many people in their choice of how to dress. Therefore, like a manifesto, the blazer positions itself as an object, as a tool, to convey our desire to be protagonists of a universe—a conscious universe—where anyone who chooses to wear a garment from our brand feels like an integral part of the process of change that is shaping our society.
Since the brand’s launch in 2021, when sustainability and gender fluidity were hot topics in public debate, do you believe the fashion industry has changed? Has it learned to approach these issues in the best way possible?
I found a passage by the French philosopher Foucault, where gender is referred to as a “fluid variable that changes and transforms in different contexts and epochs,” which I believe perfectly aligns with the brand and its vision. I think the fashion industry, like contemporary society, is undergoing a radical process of change. While there’s been significant strides forward, with the phenomenon being spotlighted and becoming public knowledge, there’s also significant steps backward and moments of forgetfulness. However, fortunately, the commitment to a more responsible and inclusive approach in fashion is growing steadily. Many brands, big and small, are embracing these themes more and more. It’s also true that a significant gap has been created regarding respect for the environment and people—a gap that will take time to close. Education will play an important role in this process.