I meet Edwin at G-Star’s jaw-dropping headquarters in Amsterdam, a huge, dark grey building far from the tourist-packed city centre. When stepping in, I already find three different sculptures made almost entirely of denim, which prove the brand’s close relationship with art as well as its original, inventive workers. “Being tied to art adds extra depth to the pieces”, de Rooij tells me when I interview him a couple of hours later. But this is just one example. Another one that is more visible (and buyable!) is the collection in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum, one of the city’s most prestigious institutions, in which G-Star has merged its DNA with that of Rembrandt, the renowned Baroque painter.
As this year marks the 30th anniversary of G-Star as well as the 350th anniversary of the painter’s death – with the museum celebrating 2019 as ‘the year of Rembrandt’ –, a party was more than necessary. And taking into account the brand’s Fall/Winter 2019 campaign, which focuses on hardcore denim and on how a pair of jeans must fit perfectly your butt, what better way to celebrate it than in partnership with ADE festival, one of the biggest electronic music gatherings in the world? That’s how we ended up at the party called Raw Rave, a massive event taking place at the museum’s bicycle passage (I won’t even tell you how hard the music reverberated through our bodies, or you’ll just stop working and try to find a rave yourself…), where we got to see the acts of DJs Titia, Boys Noize, and rock band De Staat.
But before this fun madness happened, we were with the team of G-Star at the brand’s installations. We were lucky enough to pay a visit to the archives, where they store hundreds (or even thousands) of pieces. But don’t think of every denim jacket and pair of jeans they ever created, which of course they have. In addition to these, they have the widest selection you could ever think of, which ranges from military coats to plaid shirts, to leather jackets, printed shirts, trench coats, sporty hoodies, working jumpsuits, or even garments from NASA agency. A dream. Edwin de Rooij guided us through these archives and told us how the design teams from other brands request permission to visit them – which G-Star does. In the end, if you’re confident about yourself and what you do, why wouldn’t you? After being mesmerized by their archive and before heading to the Raw Rave, I found the time to sit down with Edwin to talk about the ongoing collaboration with the Rijksmuseum, sustainability, and the future of G-Star.