Christian Benner is one of the hottest designers out there right now and we got the chance to sit down with him and shoot the shit, find out what makes him tick and what’s next for him on this epic journey…
Interview by NAKID Fashion Editor – Rachel Lynch
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What’s a day in the life of Christian Benner like?
“Each day I like to treat differently, so I make it a point each morning to explore different parts of the city whether I’m getting errands done or just walking around to clear my head. I end up at my shop in the South Street Seaport, put on a record and start to work on projects. I never plan which project I work on first as I like it to happen naturally. I spend the majority of my time working in the shop as it is a form of therapy for me.”
When did you make your first shirt?
“The first shirt I made was five years ago when I was at a store called Trash & Vaudeville. I bought a band shirt, took it home and it was so new and stuff, I wanted to give it an older feel. So I buried it in my backyard for a month then took it out, cut up the sleeves, threw some bleach on it and it was perfect.”
How did you first know you were creative?
“I always felt I had something inside but never knew how to get it out. Finally when I lost my job, I came to the realization it was time for me to get out and find myself at the same time.”
Is music your greatest source of inspiration?
Were you creative in High School or College?
“When I graduated High School, I stayed around my hometown for a few years until I decided I wanted to give fashion school a shot. I originally went to school for design and thought it was a joke. It was more of the professors telling us how to design instead of us coming up with our own ideas. I dropped out of college, moved to New York City, did an internship for a fashion company and decided to go back to school to learn fashion marketing.”
Where do you get the inspiration for a new piece?
“Usually the mood I’m feeling at the exact moment. I put on a record, clear my head, and it naturally flows.”
What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever done?
“Starting my own company.”
What are you most insecure about?
“Being in rooms with lots of people in them.”
Who are your top favorite musicians and why?
“Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Alice in Chains, Big Mama Thornton, Black Crowes, Lightinin’ Hopkins, Hound Dog Taylor, Lou Reed, Janis Joplin, The Doors, The Cult, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I have such a diverse taste in music as it all depends on the mood I’m in for the day. I try to cover all the genres as rock and roll comes in, all shapes and sizes.”
Does NYC inspire you?
“I’ve been in the East Village for 15 years now, which has always been my biggest inspiration. Granted, it has changed over the years and it’s a lot less rock and roll and artsy. I still find new forms of inspiration there everyday.”
Could you see yourself living anywhere else?
“I like to go back and forth between LA and NYC. Los Angeles clears my head and gives me a different kind of inspiration, but NYC inspires me to get more work done.”
Favorite place you’ve traveled?
“The Nevada desert.”
What does being successful mean to you?
“I don’t really like to use the word successful. I consider myself happy which is what’s important.”
And finally, what does living the creative life mean to you?
“It’s a pretty wild lifestyle and my brain never shuts off. Every day is a new adventure for me.”
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