Milan’s Fashion Week is barely over that everyone is still thinking about Diesel’s latest presentation. Appointed as creative director a little under two years ago, Glenn Martens’ vision for the Italian retail brand trespasses most borders you can already imagine for a label of this allure.
At a time where most fashion businesses are renouncing their official fashion schedules, Glenn is pushing and boosting the firm into new spheres through innovative, modern and transgressive designs. Usually recognised as a lifestyle prêt-à-porter brand, the label that was once perceived as an alternative to luxury is now being involved with the fashion week sphere.
With a stronger than ever will to be inspired to create ethical, sustainable and stylish pieces, the designer has taken up the torch in the most outstanding of ways by serving timeless and intemporal looks. Proving that Fashion Week is far from being obsolete (for now at least), we asked the Belgian trailblazer on how he is planning on making Diesel’s engine roar louder than ever.
Meet Glenn Martens.
Diesel is already a well-recognised global brand. Why was it important for you to be joining the fashion week taking place in Milan?
Milan Fashion Week has been for sure a great moment for Diesel, actually this MFW was the first time the brand was showing on-schedule. Diesel has always been considered as an alternative to luxury, but this doesn’t mean it can’t also go conceptual, or that the boundaries of creativity cannot be pushed more and more.
Is there an explicit will to transition the brand to a higher-end perception?
Diesel is a global brand which also plays a very social role: now it’s not just about luxury or making beautiful clothes, the biggest challenge ahead of me is being aware of the responsibility we have by speaking to multitudes and targeting so many different people with different backgrounds, stories, religion, sexuality etc.
What did you have in mind when designing this collection?
We created an eclectic collection to let people be able to wear it easily: Diesel is an active brand and the aim is to bring excitement in an experimental and unexpected way. Being experimental with Diesel goes more on the garments, their surfaces but also washes, treatments and mixed materials, colors, graphics.
Where did most of your inspirations come from?
Diesel is all about enjoying life, an explosion of fun, radicality, success and activewear: inside the collection there is a mix of elements which reveal the core values of the brand and of course its heritage coming from the archive, which includes wonderful pieces that are extremely relevant and contemporary still today.
How different will your direction be in comparison with your predecessor Renzo Rosso?
Diesel is a radical brand and global issues are part of its DNA since the very beginning, I remember for example the two sailors kissing in an old Diesel advertising campaign. What Renzo did and the responsibilities he took should never be forgotten. I am a designer, I love new things and to surprise myself and people who love my clothes but my two biggest focuses will remain social sustainability and then environmental sustainability.
There’s no denying the global push towards ethical clothing in play, ensuring workers’ rights and making sure clothing is sustainable. What is Diesel doing to embrace this ?
Social and environmental sustainability are at the heart of Diesel: we have one of the greatest denim knowledge in the world, actually denim is the most democratic fabric, a user-friendly garment, versatile that is able to talk to every single person in the world. With my arrival in October we have been working a lot on the entire supply chain. It is a long journey but we are very committed to it. We recently launched Diesel Library, which will be in store from November and consists of fundamental denim pieces which are fully sustainable.