G-Star is back. One of our favourite denim brands launches its Spring/Summer 2015 collection as well as opening a new store in one of the most charming streets of Barcelona, Passeig de Gràcia. Jeans have always been a unique garment that fit with every occasion and so G-Star’s new collection brings us the perfect jeans for every moment of every day. Last Thursday, we attended the opening of the new store and had the opportunity to spend some time with brand manager, Remco de Nijs, who explained the essence and exclusivity of G-Star jeans.
What’s your current role at G-Star?
I’m the brand manager of G-Star. I’m involved in the whole design process, but it’s more like I’m protecting the DNA of the brand as well as being involved in PR and marketing.
You started working in G-Star’s sales department many years ago in 1997. How did you become the brand manager?
I don’t know at all, it happened very organically. Every year G-Star was growing and growing and every year there were new opportunities. So, automatically, I grew in the company. I started as a sales guy and then I went into expert management to scan the DNA and when G-Star became bigger, we needed a proper marketing department. So we decided that it was good to have someone who stayed on the true G-Star DNA and also in the marketing department. Therefore, I moved from sales to the marketing side but I kept the product design area.
What does it mean for you to work for a brand as big as G-Star?
It’s a little bit like my baby. I love the product and I’m so involved in everything, I’m so linked to it. I think that if you put so much energy into what you really like, you finally have a kind of relationship with the product and with the company. In G-Star I always feel so good, so comfortable. I’ve never thought of going to another company or whatever, especially because G-Star is always on the move, there are always new opportunities. For example, now we’re opening in South America; we just launched a sunglasses range; during a previous season we did a campaign with Pharrell Williams and today we’re opening our third store in Barcelona – that’s our 20th store in Spain! So, it’s all about really cool stuff.
What is it that makes G-Star one of the best denim brands?
Our strength is that we’re a very consistent denim brand. Consistency for us is very important because if you’re consistent, it means that you’re also recognisable to the consumers and they also have a reason to buy the product. G-Star has an iconic piece: the Elwood, and that has its own kind of fan-base. You need to be consistent, if not, consumers don’t know what you stand for. I think the power of G-Star is that it is a brand that’s always standing for innovation. We’re always curious about how jeans will look in 2025, but we’re not so interested in making the perfect replica. We’re much more interested in how the new jeans look and that’s really our focus. Because in the end, we’re not fashion designers, we’re more product designers; we’re much more curious about new silhouettes, new great techniques or new paper-patterns… I think that’s G-Star’s strength.
#Tightorwide is a contradiction but perfectly defines the concept of G-Star’s S/S 15 collection. How did you come up with this slogan?
If you go back into the past, jeans were more unisex; people always adjusted them with a belt. So, years ago, there were not always the perfect jeans for everyone. During the years, G-Star has been progressing and making more jeans designed for every person, especially for women. It was very hard at first for G-Star to make jeans for everybody and now we really can say that we can make jeans for everybody. G-Star has so many different techniques and also little tricks to let legs look a little bit smaller, or to lift up the bum so that it looks more attractive. We felt so comfortable in saying, “we can make jeans for every kind of silhouette”. So, we really wanted to see how consumers responded to it and what they prefer each day. Because every day each consumer feels different; one day they want to feel sexy, the next they want to stay more comfortable, and the next they are going out and they want to look mind blowing. So for every moment, for every type of consumer day and for each type of jean, we really wanted to say: “hey, what is it today? Tight or wide, and why?”. We wanted to communicate with the consumer because we’re very curious about how they approach their silhouette, because the silhouette is G-Star’s big focus. So we really wanted to make that link with the consumers and that’s why we come up with the idea of #tightorwide.
And what is the main objective behind using a hashtag on the motto of the S/S 15 Campaign?
As I said, we really wanted to communicate directly with our consumer; we really wanted to see how the consumer responded to it. Because in previous seasons it was like: baggy on the knee and toggled on the top, or skinny and then oversized on the top, but now it’s as if there are no rules anymore. So, G-Star has used the hashtag because it is so curious as to how consumers deal with the whole story of silhouettes.
What was the source of inspiration for this new S/S 15 campaign?
Well, denim is a product that is so well accepted, you can wear it on any occasion; at a funeral or at a wedding, whatever. So what we see now is that if you want to set yourself apart from another company, you have to be focused on the detail and that’s what we’re focused on: on how consumers wear their jeans and which wash or silhouette they are picking up. I think that all these kind of little details are what make the big difference and that’s what G-Star wanted to communicate through denim. We really wanted to create a community where we could start a discussion on how the consumer deals with different kinds of silhouettes and what they prefer.
If you had to opt for one model of jeans from the S/S 15 collection, which would you choose?
I love the Type C for men. Because in 1997, when we introduced the role of denim as a concept, that was a revolution. And then when G-Star introduced the Elwood, that was the first 3D jean. It went directly on G-Star’s DNA. At that moment, G-Star had two tools that created the revolution in the denim world. So the whole revolution of 3D started there and in this new collection we have the Type C that’s like our DNA through and through. That’s why I love the Type C.
How would you describe the S/S 15 campaign in three words?
Super-denim-focused, innovative and sensual.
You work on the collection styling for G-Star. Can you tell me, what is most essential in creating a new pair of jeans?
It comes from everywhere. It always goes very systematically, in fact. The problem that we have is that in G-Star we have too many ideas. We have so many people, all so creative, so on top of it, and we always have to slow it down a little bit. There are too many good ideas and what is very interesting is that our inspiration always comes from our direct surroundings.
Women’s denim is one of the strongest points of the brand. How does G-Star handle researching the perfect jeans for every woman?
We have a huge team working on that. What’s very nice is that we always design in a very traditional way. At first we make a sketch and then we make a prototype, and then we discuss it. Well, it’s a long process. In fact, we really want to do it in the traditional way because it’s not like “okay, I’ll make it practical”. That’s not how we work. I think that in the whole design process we define each part of our women’s jeans so perfectly that, at the end, we have the perfect jeans for every type of consumer.
The main idea of the Spring/Summer campaign is that each person uses denim in their own way. What is the role that jeans have in your daily life?
For me jeans are like everything. I can’t wear a blazer jacket. I started to work in a jeans store when I was 15, so I’ve always had jeans in my closet. What I think is very nice about the role of jeans is that if I go to my closet and I look at my entire wardrobe, the jeans are like the pictures I have on my phone, because they each have their own whole story and that’s so beautiful. Denim is one of the unique garments that really gives you a kind of passport and that’s because you can recognise every mark and connect it with one day or one special moment. There are always such beautiful stories on my denim and I think that there are not many clothes that can give that to you. That’s why I love denim so much.
And do you prefer to wear tight or wide jeans?
I prefer wide.
How do you imagine a pair of G-Star jeans in 5 years?
I think that the most important thing is that even after 5 years, we can still make a product that comes from our heart and into which we have put feeling; I mean, that’s very important. So with every season that G-Star brings out a new collection, we can put all of our emotions into it. I think that’s the most important thing.