An interview with Boris Bidjan Saberi in AKENZ

During the AKENZ Concept Store Grand opening, the Founder of Boris Bidjan Saberi took a moment out of his busy day to speak with AKENZ, HYPEBEAST CHINA and NOWRE.The topics ranged from the brand awareness, collaboration, the stories between Boris Bidjan Saberi and AKENZ etc.

Jens (Founder of AKENZ) :

What is the major difference between the two brands Boris Bidjan Saberi and 11?


We started 11 after working with the mainline for about 5 years and realizing that there were limitations to where we could take this brand in regards to design, prints and also references to skate, punk and hip hop culture. The 11 brand is basically a reference to my life growing up skating listening to hip hop and punk rock and still I am.


Congratulations on your new collaboration with Massive Attack. How did that come about?


It’s been a very long process actually. First Massive Attack contacted us many years ago asking if we were interested in making a collaboration. I didn’t really see how we should make this, or the reasoning behind such collaboration.

Then after talking to Robert Del Naja, the lead singer in Massive Attack, there was a great connection and energy and we kept in contact.

One day when Massive Attack was touring in Spain, I talked to Robert who told me they were on the train pretty tired and warn out after a long tour around Spain. It was then I got the idea to create a clothing line or uniform for them.

Something that the whole crew could wear and feel comfortable in while going on these long tours and basically this is how the collaboration started.  



How does the design process start for you? Do you have any rituals or standard processes or does new designs just arrived per impulse? Have you ever been a situations in which you are lacking ideas or the designs didn‘t really reach the standard that you were expecting? How do you deal with it?  Could you share with us?


Our design process starts with reflecting over the situation we in society are currently in. We analyze the current situation and try to image how the future is going to develop and how we can create something that is relevant for this future. We have these massive metal walls hanging from the ceiling in our studio we use to communicate visually internally before we develop a new collection.

Any chance we can receive some pictures from the studio?

Does it important to you to go with the trends or better to remain the classic?  Like what you did with the collection of AW20.  How do you keep the balance?


To be honest I don’t know what the trend is anymore. When I look at society today and try to understand what the current trend is I feel like a grandpa. For me it is very important to stay unique and true to my own DNA. We didn’t invent the T-shirt or the pants but we invented some T-shirts and pants that are truly unique and carry my DNA and besides of the brand and this we will always continue.

Are you currently working on some new ideas or technologies you can share with us?


Experimenting and exploring is a very big part of what we do. We are always trying to develop new technologies or create new visuals and shapes in line with our brand DNA and design language. Robert from Massive Attack already developed a way of adding actual real DNA into a spray can, so that when paint is removed, the DNA still persists and shows the DNA of Massive Attacks music. His first approach to me came about this idea and we are still working on it and finding a possible way to create with this technology something together.    



How did your collaboration with Salomon come about? Are there any upgrades on technics, styling or fabric in SS21? What is the most important element to you when comes to the shoes collaboration design? How did you start from an idea to products.


It started because we really wanted to add a very technical futuristic sneaker to 11 collection. After trying to create this sneaker ourselves, we found it very difficult to get to work with the large manufacturers who have all the newest and best technologies. We then made a list of the top technical brands in the world that we could work with like Nike, Adidas, Puma, Reebok, Salomon and started contacting them.

First, we contacted Nike who were interested in working with us, but after some reflection I decided not to proceed. Nike was doing so many collaborations and I felt like we would just be another one of the 100 collaborations they already are working on, where we would not be able to create something that was ours and unique.

Then after some time I sent an email to Salomon and they replied back after 30 mins saying that they knew our brand and were very interested in working together. Also Salomon was not having any collaboration at this time.

First, I didn’t really believe they were sincere but after talking to their team I realized that they were really excited about working together and again this great energy was established which is now the 11-sneaker collaboration.


AKENZ has hosted the 11 years of Boris Bidjan Saberi "Retrospective" show last year and organizing this interview for all the audience to have the chance to understand your brand at this AKENZ grand opening event. Could you share with us the close relationship between your team and AKENZ please?


Akenz came one day to us in the showroom in Paris – and there he was – Jens. It basically was a matter of understanding and respect from the first moment from my side. And I still have to say the same and I am proud to say we did it until today and see the evolution of our collaboration since then.

What Akenz does as a great represented of our work is outstanding and I am proud to work with Jens and his team.

I wish you from heart all the best for your new project and I am very happy to be part of it.

Thank you.

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