Born out of a need, rather than a want.
Benjamin Prince is a brand with a minimalistic approach towards streetwear founded by Koen Prince-Fraser in 2015. It was born out of a need, rather than a want; a need for ‘a good fitting t-shirt’ that didn’t cost an arm and a leg, the closest thing to it being Stateside (the likes of John Elliott Co. and Fear of God).
So in between modelling and studying, Koen created Benjamin Prince, and started creating the ideal t-shirt. After successfully debuting his first collection last year, he has moved forward with development and construction, to produce his second collection compiled of essentials. We caught up with him to find out more about Benjamin Prince.
So why did you want to start a brand?
I didn’t start is as a brand, I just always struggled to find a good fitting t-shirt that wasn’t too extortionate in price. I’m not big on graphics so I deem basics crucial. I just made clothes for myself then others took interest.
Why no graphics?
My Sub-Line collection coming soon “PROMOTION” will center more so around graphics and visuals, so keep an eye out for that. I’m doing this to cater to both markets. Streetwear played a massive part in my life before I came to producing this collection. However my core focus is on the main collection which consists of very few, if so any graphics.
What’s the selling point of your clothing?
The quality and cut of the clothes, they’re timeless, quality, durable and comfortable. I don’t make clothes for the hype, it may sound cliché but I want to make good quality clothes that warrant the price tag.
Why your tee over Uniqlo?
It’s not a simple matter of mine over uniqlo, everyone has their own preference. I just feel the types of cuts I’ve created are unique, I have made my idealistic perfect jersey. Hence the name “Everyday Jersey”
If you could see yourself at a fashion week, which city would it be in?
I would have to stay in my own city, it’s only right. However, future collection I would love to go to Paris, I feel that’s where the most unique and upcoming designers are placed currently.
Obviously, there’s a lot of new upcoming brands coming up, what makes you different?
I wouldn’t consider BENJAMIN PRINCE a brand, I see it more so as a lifestyle or movement. I guess I’m just trying to center everything around quality, I was never in this to make money fast, and I never will be. It’s going to take time; I want people to recognize my products from the sheer quality.
What can we expect in your second instalment, and then in your third collection?
If anyone follows the social media @benjaminprince_ they’ll know the second instalment is going to feature the Classic Jersey and the Everyday Sweatpants, which I’m excited to release. My third collection, I guess you’re just going to have to follow to keep up…
Who’s your inspiration?
Honestly, my dad. He always had nice clothes when I was growing up, not just designer brands, but clothes he’d buy and they’d last him years. He’s the one that taught me the importance of quality in the craft you try to perfect.
Where do you see yourself in a year?
I guess I’ll continue to model and work on the movement, I obviously know it’ll be a long process. Nothing happens overnight as we all know. Just continuing to educate myself in the department of sewing, dyeing garments, stitching etc.
What about 5 years?
For the movement to be bigger, a bigger following. People to recognize my products, I don’t know if I’d want to have a store, but to be stocked somewhere would be cool. It gives me the opportunity to travel etc. I’d also love to collaborate with someone.
What designers do you look to for influence?
Virgil is one for his unique ability to design whatever he wants; he turns most products into art. He doesn’t just design clothes which I admire, he DJ’s, he owns his own store and probably does a lot more I don’t know of. Another two are Jerry Lorenzo & John Elliott, they do the basics well.
How do your experiences in life come into play in the collection?
Well myself and my brother got into streetwear at a very young age, it was all about who had the most box logos, or who could pull of the best full Bape fit. I remember having so many loud pieces you could wear them, get credit from your peers then not be able to wear it for like a month otherwise people would only think you had one good outfit. I guess what I’m trying to say as I’ve gotten older I appreciate the clothes that don’t go out of fashion, the pieces you can wear daily. Functionality is key.
Photography by Daniel Pacitti
Video by Will Reid & Ed Reid
Creative direction and styling by Tayler Prince-Fraser