Jackie Robinson, number 42 of the Brooklyn Dodgers, was the first African American athlete to play in the Major League Baseball. It was the late Forties. By breaking the so called color line, with stubbornness and selfless dedication, Robinson gave a huge contribution to the cause of racial integration. His field of action was sports, but the message was global. At the peak of his struggle, he famously said “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me. All I ask you is that you respect me as a human being”. Jackie Robinson is an American hero who fought for freedom. He was also an impeccably stylist gent. Identity, freedom, elegance are central topics also in the work of Umit Benan, who titles his new collection Home Run dedicating it to Jackie Robinson. The world has progressed a lot since Robinson’s days, and many rights have been acquired. Yet, racism is still an issue. Umit Benan is saying no to racism, through his unique perspective of sartorial storyteller. The theatrical mise-en-scene sets a before and an after, marking the era-defining change ignited by Robinson. At the beginning, the all-black cast of models looks trapped, secluded, hiding and in jail, the baseball glove turning into a face-concealing mask, halfway between horror and comic strip. The second moment oozes the euphoria of pride and enjoyment. That’s the message: freedom of being oneself as a liberating tool. An idea of all-American classicism pervades the collection. The silhouette is dignified and heroic, with a formal aura contaminated by sporty details such as big letters that land on tailoring and outerwear as crests, quilting seen with a sartorial angle, stripes on knitwear. The wardrobe includes everything a man needs, from the double breasted coat to the duffel, from the varsity jacket to jeans. Benan’s interest for volume is apparent in the oversized, manly lines. Puffer jackets are rendered in suede, getting a dignified touch. Neckties are ubiquitous while turtlenesk worn under shirts highlight the air of austerity and swagger. Thick double-breasted suits hide surprising velvet undercollars. Trousers have a fuller volume and a higher waist. The piped baseball shirt recurs as a punctuation mark even under formal suits, and so does the fedora on top of the silhouette. Fabrics are grainy and sturdy: tweed, corduroy, wool, velvet. The refined color palette mixes tones of blue, brown, beige with accents of burgundy and red; herringbone motifs and checks strengthen the timeless vibe. By refusing racism, Umit Benan celebrates the power of sport and the dignity of elegance with a soul.