"The Godfather of Denim"
Adriano Goldschmied
"The Godfather of Denim"


Denim veteran Adriano Goldschmied is inspiring a new generation of designers to develop more sustainable processes.

Deep Dive

Adriano Goldschmied is a true blueblood—or rather it’s likely at this point that he bleeds indigo. The Italian fashion designer spent a career focused on everything related to jeans. Name any of the top denim labels today and Goldschmied likely either founded them, collaborated with them or inspired them in one way or another.

The so-called godfather of denim has had his hand in trendy brands like Diesel as well as more accessible concepts like Gap 1969, as well as his namesake AG Adriano Goldschmied and Goldsign lines. He’s credited with launching and popularizing a host of trends, including premium denim before it was a thing, and back when it really meant something.

“In the early days, the price of clothing was synonymous with the quality of the materials, the manner of production, and points of distribution,” he said, adding that then came the me-too brands with hefty price tags but few bona fides. Goldschmied recognizes today’s consumer wants the market kept honest. “There is a very real demand from consumers for more transparency in their products, and the expectation for brands to be sharing that information without hiding behind fancy or vague terms.”

This groundswell is also leading the industry to implement more sustainable processes, he said, which is helping deliver more responsible denim to the masses. “The innovation behind sustainability is finally producing jeans in responsible way without the high price tag that it had in the past. Thoughtful collections are creating a lifestyle that all types of customers can access and adopt,” Goldschmied said.

Creating this new type of denim in an environment that’s all about speed to market is a challenge that has Goldschmied energized. He says he’s excited by “the pressure from the customer, retailers and industry to bring them to market faster while not sacrificing quality or responsible standards.”

Goldschmied, now in his 70s, has racked up many accolades but those aren’t what brings him joy as he looks back at his accomplished career. “It’s not so much about the brands or products I created in my career, but more about the influence I’ve had in changing, elevating and improving the opportunities and working conditions in the countries where I have been working,” he said. “But, most of all, I am proud of the people that I have been able to bring into the denim business and help make them very successful.”

What is your first denim memory? 

“American soldiers wearing blue jeans in Trieste, Italy in the 50`s.”

What is your favorite pair of jeans? 

“The only one is the 501.”