updated 10 Jan 2010, 20:31
    Powered by
user id password
Sun, Jan 10, 2010
Urban, The Straits Times
EmailPrintDecrease text sizeIncrease text size
Denim architects
by Noelle Loh

Anybody who thinks denim is best suited for the young should visit the G-Star booth at the bi-annual Bread & Butter clothing trade show.

At the spring/summer 2010 exhibition held in Berlin in July, for instance, even G-Star staff in their 60s worked the Amsterdam-based label's latest styles with effortless cool.

These included hip low-waisted, peg-leg pants and edgy workman-inspired distressed denim.

After all, the label, known for its innovative cuts and raw finish, does not think about customers in terms of age.

Instead, it is all about the attitude, says Shubhankar Ray, 41, its Calcutta-born, London-bred global brand director.

'Jeans generally are for young people aged 16 to 24, but we do not believe in targeting by age. We believe only in connecting with their mindset,' he says.

'We do not believe in appealing to one particular lifestyle. We think that's something from marketing textbooks of 20 years ago,' he adds.

G-Star, which marks its 20th anniversary this year, currently has 147 stores in 70 countries. In Singapore, there is a boutique in Paragon and a retail space within Isetan Orchard.

Prices for its denim jeans range from $190 to $725. You can also pick up T-shirts from $85, bags from $109 and jackets from $245.

Local fashion retailer Sidefame, which runs the brand here, will open a 3,300 sq ft store in Ion Orchard in December.

G-Star's approach to design has indeed been anything but conventional.

According to Ray, its makers see themselves not so much as fashion designers but 'product developers' bent on pushing the boundaries of denim technology.

Says collection stylist Remco des Nijs, 44, who works alongside chief designer Pierre Morriset to put together each collection: 'We really want to be the architects of denim both in terms of wash and shape.

'If you experiment with patterns, you change the movement of the pants and this in turn makes them more comfortable.'

At its spring/summer 2010 show at Bread & Butter - where it has traditionally been the only brand to host a catwalk show - the label debuted the System Slack pants.

An updated version of the brand's Arc Pants - a drop-crotch number with seams going around the�legs to create a twisted, structured silhouette - it has a lower crotch, tapered legs and finer details such as chino-style pockets and an upturned yoke. The result looks more tailored without losing any of the design's original edge or comfort.

Meanwhile, G-Star's all-time best-selling design is the Elwood, a motorcycle pants-inspired style created by Morriset in 1996.

It features knee pads, butt stitching and seams on the upper leg and heel section to create what the brand calls 'a three-dimensional leg' which moves with the body for better fit and comfort.

Produced every season in new silhouettes and washes, more than five million pairs have been sold. The original look is copyrighted.

The dedication to innovation has never wavered, says chief executive Jos Van Tilburg.

'Our brand identity and direction have been very clear from the beginning: We'd like to be a denim brand with beautiful products and no limits on the design structure,' says the 50-year-old Dutchman.

The creative streak also extends to the brand's promotional activities.

Besides hosting Raw Nights parties where celebrities curate art presentations, the brand has also added a quirk factor to its New York Fashion Week shows by roping in the likes of American actor Dennis Hopper to read poetry on the catwalk.�

The brand has also been involved in daring crossover projects with companies alien to the fashion world.

In 2007, it retrofitted a 1927 Central Station ferry - traditionally used in the waterways of Amsterdam - with natural and raw materials like wood, leather and steel, turning it into a luxury boat with an industrial feel.

Says Van Tilburg: 'It's interesting to put your DNA in other things apart from clothing. It's not specifically a marketing strategy. It's just another form of G-Star and we love to do it. It's fun.'

This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

more: g-star, jeans
readers' comments

Copyright © 2010 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.