Glenn Martens recalls how in his teens Diesel was the first brand to be intentionally bought. “For that way of communicating between your ad campaigns and claim and irreverence,” he tells via Zoom. Last October, the Belgian designer was appointed artistic director of the Italian firm, and on 21 June his work saw light in a digital show within Milan Fashion Week. At least, the more experimental part of it, because, as he himself remarks, “It’s like making a lasagna, here we’ll be more conceptual with ingredients and quantity and we’ll sell it at specific points of sale, but then there Have rest, everyday clothes, denim, basic … everything should be connected. There is so much to cook,” he says. Above all, because it is one of the most innovative alliances that have emerged in the industry in recent times: the designer promoted by his avant-garde vision, the author respected for his work at y/project, will be in charge of a brand all for the masses. for. An education that anyone, beyond fashion, in the strict sense, has ever bought and worn.
But the truth is that Martens a rare avi within the current area. He was trained in Antwerp, which prints the character in itself, a very distinctive way of approaching the design that it still has value for export today; Then, after years of working at Jean Paul Gaultier, he was assigned the extremely complex task of putting the Y/Project on the map in 2014, two years after it was founded, following the death of its creator Johann Cerfetti. In 2016, that is, after a few collections under their baton, the French firm was a finalist for the LVMH prize, the winners of Andam and Martens appeared for the first time list of 500 most influential people the magazine that the industry produces each year fashion business. They didn’t use logos, nor did celebrities act as ambassadors, they never even believed it. look total, that monobrand uniform that works so well across the network. His was, and is, the avant-garde gesture of returning to zero degree of design: the focus on each garment, its construction (and reconstruction) of proportion, irony or even playing with historical references. Now that she has just started a great brand (and continues with Y/Project) her work is different, but her thoughts are the same: «I think everything was the same for a while now. We consume visuals non-stop and do not stop to delve deeper into what we see. What’s more, luxury is trying to reconnect by working on products that reflect the lifestyle, but almost always has the idea of a logo behind it, which makes something similar (besides the cost of 900 euros). Now I do 200 things, and well, I have to make logos, of course they sell, but they sell other things too,” he confesses.
In fact, the manufacturer is so oblivious to the current star designer profile that it is acutely aware that many (if not the majority) consumers of Diesel will not know who or what is behind the jeans they buy. And he doesn’t care. “My job is to reconnect with the values that lead this firm and update them. The idea of humor, daring, new sexy… Also, since I’m new, I still see it from the outside, and that’s probably what it’s all about. The work you are talking about takes shape in absolutely everything. Martens will stick to not only clothing (distributed across multiple product lines), but adverts, global imagery, and even shop windows. If in Y/Project he does almost everything, even in Diesel, with the exception that he has a team of 20 people and here’s more than 100 «And you know, the bigger your team, the more you Will have to devote more time to that. », he jokes. «Now I am working from eight in the morning till nine in the night and I try to end the day by having dinner with someone. Everything is new, it’s a big change, but it’s also very inspiring.
Diesel has not had a creative director since 2017. In fact, in its more than 40-year history, it has had only one, Nicola Formichetti, who had been at the firm for four years, and worked with only the most artistic line. Of home. After leaving, the brand launched Red Tag Capsules, a series of sporadic collaborations with the most avant-garde writers on the scene. Glenn Martens was one of them. “That intrusion was more artistic, although it’s true that when they offered it to me I thought of exploiting that democratic aspect of a big brand that many have taken for granted.” The idea of democracy comes up many times in conversation; For Martens, it was, in a way, that made him accept the challenge of overseeing the entire artistic side of the company. «It is not exclusive to some, as I do at Y/Project. It’s not just fashion, it’s clothing. You make something, and suddenly people wear it,” he laughs. So the first thing he did after signing the contract was to go through the archives for weeks. «Two floors with absolutely everything. a time machine. really good though denim It’s that, if you design it well, it gets better as you get older,” he says. They even have cowgirl jackets that aren’t sticky! I’ve tried a thousand times and it never really worked for me.
Diesel owner Renzo Rosso has the idea in mind to somehow redefine the concept of luxury, from a mid-range company focused on creating signature fashion. denim. That’s why Project Shape executor Martens has created a very experimental video show, but also updated (with meta-titles) the home’s archival textiles. diesel x diesel) and applied cycling Or reusing discarded denim. “There is Display; Being the only time I won’t be subject to the catwalk of a lifetime is because I’ve taken so many creative liberties,” he says. But then there are basic T-shirts. Well, not exactly basic, but T-shirts, “they telling. The challenge is max. «Every decision matters here, because it reaches many. Talking about sustainability in a small firm is not the same here. Or claim certain things. This is the hardest and probably the most beautiful thing ahead of me.