Pierre Morisset, G-Star's head designer, likes to describe himself as a denim specialist. He joined the G-Star team in 1991 and has played with washes, textures, fits, stitches and fades throughout his time as the brand's artistic director. Recently, his interest has turned to faded denim, a change that's reflective in his designs. Care to channel your inner Kelly Taylor or Brenda Walsh? Morisset sees '90s denim as the next big thing.
How did you get your start with G-Star?
"My original plan was to study architecture and work for my father's building business. But as a child I had always been interested in all sorts of [style] details and collected buttons, images of cowboys, photographs, etc. When the opportunity arose, I started dressing windows and before long I opened my own store selling vintage as well as original designs. Soon after, I began experimenting with denim washes and that gradually turned into my own design agency. I worked with labels like Liberto, Classic Nouveau, Appaloosa, Fiorucci, Chipie, Esprit, Wrangler and Lee. I began at G-Star in 1991 and in 1994 signed on full-time as their head designer."
What sells best in LA?
"G-Star has an extremely strong sell through in the LA market, [particularly] with denim, color denim and shirts. LA fashion is typically very casual and the city is historically known for building denim brands. Naturally, we see a lot of potential in LA."
The '90s are having a massive comeback in terms of denim—what trends are you seeing?
"Ripped denim and acid wash. Our men's spring collection has a great interpretation of this trend with the Attacc Low Straight. A denim jacket just like our women's Midge jacket and the men's Arc jacket are also reflective of the '90s trend resurrection."
Why do you think faded washes are popular again?
"Faded washes are fun but still add a little bit of edginess to your look; it goes back to a rebellious era and is all about expressing yourself in a laid-back, cool way. They are also easy to dress up or down depending on what you pair them with. G-Star has always had a strong collection of faded wash denim. For us, it isn't about the trend, but it's more about the fact that we think a good faded wash never truly goes out of style."
Where do you see G-Star going in 20 years?
"Our goal with G-Star is to be known as 'Denim Specialists'. We have always stayed true to our identity and our inspiration and I hope that in the next 20 years we refine that vision and are afforded the opportunity to bring G-Star to more markets and consumers. We plan to bring our U.S. store count to at least 19 with openings in Boston, Miami, Minneapolis, Seattle and Atlantic City. By 2015, our goal is to open 50 stores in the U.S. and 750 stores globally, up from 282 currently. Product-wise we are today the most modern brand in the denim business. We are preparing now the denim for the future 20 years."
What makes your products unique?
"G-Star does not do fashion trends. We develop functional, high-quality products with a long life cycle. We are a stable brand with clear handwriting. The evolution of our collection is 'le changement dans la continuieté'. We don't rush into new trends. Our products become trends themselves in a natural way, through interpretation of our consumers. We also focus on the body and place a huge emphasis on how our clothing fits. When I design, I think about the person that will be wearing these clothes and the activities they will do in them. This is reflective of our 3D technology, as humans are not flat."
Where do you find inspiration?
"My inspiration comes from authentic workwear tailoring and functional clothing such as work and army clothing, astronaut clothing, firemen and huntering wear. It wasn't until 1996 that I realized what was needed to design the next generation jeans. It was a rainy day and a motorcyclist, soaked by rain, had caught my eye. His pants, molded into his riding position, articulated the shape of his body. The knees, the back pocket, the heel pad, I looked at it and instantly knew: this is it. I called [the design it inspired] the G-Star Elwood...and have never looked back."
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