In today’s world of fast fashion and fleeting trends, authenticity is something craved and coveted by many. When authentic product design is the result of a clever and creative collaboration? Well, you’re onto a winner.
Enter G-Star RAW Research with Aitor Throup. Last month, for the first time ever, Dutch denim brand G-Star RAW took to Paris Men’s Fashion Week to showcase its latest and most directional capsule collection ever, crafted in collaboration with progressive artist, designer and creative director Aitor Throup.
Buenos Aires-born Throup has lead a captivating career, first as a Creative Consultant for British football brand Umbro, followed by Creative Direction for musical acts Kasabian and Blur’s Damon Albarn, leading him to present his very own product line ‘New Object Research’ in 2013.
A year, and multiple accolades later, Throup was appointed as Creative Consultant at G-Star. After approaching Aitor a few years ago, the designer flew to G-Star’s Amsterdam HQ to discover an instant creative connection with the brand. “I just saw some real deep interest in product design both through their garments but also through their product collaborations,” Throup told D’Marge. “They work beyond just fashion and more into product design, but they also work more artistically in an expressive way…surpassing the value of fashion by investigating deeper into product design and into art itself.”
G-Star RAW Research was born from G-Star’s internal innovation laboratory, a space focused on experimenting with new design by clashing tradition and innovation. “We just wanted to create a place where we were able to imagine, research and develop products that were not necessarily commercially driven or briefed by the company or the brand…a place where we were able to take risks,” Throup said.
This process of exploration, curiosity and experimentation with denim resulted in two polar opposite states in the life of denim.
On one extreme: rigid, untreated, raw denim, and on the other: bleached-white denim where only a hint of indigo remains.
Aitor’s work with G-Star was originally intended to form only part of a larger collection, integrated and sold through normal distribution, but a different direction was taken. “When we first presented, the collection of prototypes were so clean, in the same fabrics and it just looked really beautiful.” It was only then that Aitor and G-Star decided to allow the prototypes to form the entire collection.
The 20-piece collection is visually quite striking and includes bleached versions of G-Star’s iconic 3D tapered jeans and bomber, a jacket that can be taken off yet remain attached to the body through an innovative strapping system.
“I think the collection is awesome when you wear it all together, making a really clear statement,” he said. “I’ve also been wearing the dark denim with black and then the light denim with white. But then again I’ve also worn all-black outfits with just a pop of white denim – it just works.”
G-Star has garnered a reputation over the years for this pared back and fuss-free look.
It helps that the Dutch brand were among the first to propose raw denim as a style statement, introducing the concept into their collection when other denim labels were focusing solely on a multitude of washes and curated materials. “If you have interesting and unique developments, forms and objects that you’ve designed with denim in mind, then the ultimate, cleanest, purest way of showcasing them is without any treatment – in the raw state – so it can age and grow with you,” says Aitor.
So does Throup consider G-Star’s determination to stray from the status quo a form of innovation? “Innovation is a very charged word that can be associated with improving something and making it better than what came before, but we are more interested in research, in exploration, in dreaming and in imagining what is new, what can be done differently, and through that you stumble on innovation.”
What is clearly important to the 36-year-old creative is the concept of collaborative creation. “Working collaboratively has allowed me to express myself to the maximum, whether it’s working with different companies, or within my own studio, that’s what allows me to think bigger, achieve bigger and get to a more exciting place than you normally would. Learning to work with people is crucial to this evolution.”
You can expect to see Aitor’s G-Star RAW Research capsule collection in select concept stores around the world from mid-November this year.