Y/Project designer and Diesel collaborator, Glenn Martens, is breaking norms with his witty denim designs.
Five years ago, Belgium-born Glenn Martens was largely unheard of by anyone other than those in the inner circles of fashion. But today, he’s the industry’s unofficial design darling, thanks to his ascension to fame as creative director at edgy French fashion label Y/Project.
After graduating first in his class from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts’ esteemed fashion program in 2004, Martens went on to work as a junior designer at Jean-Paul Gaultier, serve as assistant to Y/Project’s co-founder and creative director Yohan Serfaty, and freelance for brands like Bruno Pieters, Hugo Boss and Weekday—all before launching his eponymous womenswear line in 2012.
Despite finding early success during his first three seasons in business, Martens shuttered his brand in 2013 after the death of his former mentor Serfaty, accepting the role as creative director at Y/Project. In the handful of years since, Martens has transformed the luxury streetwear brand into a witty collection of boundary-pushing silhouettes, eclectic unisex styles, and dramatic designs that merge historical references with quirky youth culture.
Not only has Martens’ takeover of the brand resulted in skyrocketing sales and a solid hold on the luxury market—with stockists like Barney’s, Selfridges, Net-A-Porter, MatchesFashion and more—but it’s also secured a number of prestigious acknowledgements for Y/Project. In 2016, the label was a finalist for the LVMH Prize, and in 2017, it took home the ANDAM Award, earning more than $300,000 in prize money and an invaluable mentorship from Francesca Bellettini, president and CEO of Saint Laurent.
Earlier this year, Martens was tapped as the second designer for Diesel’s new Red Tag Project, a platform designed to breathe new life into the denim brand with the help of some of today’s freshest talents. Martens’s denim-focused capsule collection featured six looks, all inspired by a classic Diesel item and the brand’s new tagline, “Go with the flaw.” With everything from oversized shearling jackets to high-waisted jeans, each piece was designed with intentional mistakes, such as too-small waists and extra-long jeans rolled up to fit properly.
This perfect imperfection has been a common thread in Martens’s creations for Y/Project, with his funky denim silhouettes and out-of-the-norm designs spanning across each of the label’s collections. His Spring ’19 collection was no certainly exception—featuring styles like drop-waist, Y-front jeans; oversized denim vests; and high-waist indigo underwear—continuing his trademark blend of streetwear and couture.