Glenn Martens’ arrival at Diesel isn’t your standard changing of the guard. The Y/Project creative director and former Diesel collaborator immersed himself into the Italian denim brand’s past to design a future that will resonate with younger generations.
One year into the gig, Martens has helmed new concept store designs and provocative ad campaigns that nod to Diesel’s history for bold and memorable branding, collaborated with Diesel founder Renzo Rosso on updating archival pieces and laid the foundation to the brand’s first low-impact evergreen denim line called Diesel Library.
His first collection for Spring/Summer 2022, meanwhile, underscores Diesel’s new lease on life. The all-gender presentation offers new approaches to pandemic-fashion buzzwords like utility and upcycling, which Diesel has been experimenting more with as of late. Deadstock Diesel denim is transformed into a lattice-detailed, smocked and floor-grazing topcoat. Blazers, shirts and denim trousers are finished with lasered trompe l’oeil effects, while 5-pocket jeans are refashioned with integrated boots.
What is the biggest misconception that consumers have about sustainable denim?
Denim is the most democratic fabric. It is a user-friendly garment, and versatile in that it is able to speak to everyone. At Diesel, we want to make sure that denim is the cleanest possible since transparency is part of our sustainability journey.
My first big job at Diesel was to question the full supply chain and the whole process of making garments. Over the course of just six months, we experienced a complete rethink of the company’s entire production process. Moreover, starting from Spring/Summer 2022, we have implemented the Diesel Library that consists of essential denim pieces (denim pants, skirts, dresses) which are also the fundamentals of the brand. [Diesel Library] is envisioned to be fully sustainable and meant to stay season after season.
What can the denim industry do to ensure a positive post-pandemic rebound?
Once you're at the head of a global brand, you have to question what it means to be in this position and having such power today. We will always remember we have one of the greatest denim knowledges in the world, always focusing on being a social and environmentally sustainable brand.
Skinny jeans: Over or a new staple?
It depends on how you styled them, but they can be really sexy.
How can denim retail improve?
By implementing strategic flagship stores in key cities around the world and having a clear focus on putting consumers at the center of everything we do.
How many pairs of jeans do you own?
Which jeans do you wear the most, and why?
My new Diesel jeans, which is part of the Diesel Library. My team gifted it to me for my birthday, and I love it because it fits perfectly, especially on the back.