From art to sustainability, musician Pharrell Williams is injecting his unique perspective into G-Star Raw’s designs.
“Head of Imagination” may sound like a title at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, but there’s truly no better way to describe the role of artist and fashion icon Pharrell Williams at G-Star Raw. After years of collaborating with the Dutch denim brand to design edgy capsule collections and push its sustainability initiatives forward, the Academy and Grammy Award-winning Williams officially bought into the brand back in early 2016, joining the roster as co-owner and injecting his unique perspective into G-Star’s designs.
Williams first teamed up with G-Star in 2014 for his Raw for the Oceans collection. Designed by the singer, the eco-friendly line was crafted using Bionic Yarn, a fiber made from recycled plastic bottles found in the ocean. After its wild success, Williams continued to collaborate with G-Star, starring in many of its campaigns and eventually taking on a more permanent role.
In the years since, Williams has helped the brand stay focused on innovation—which is certainly saying something for a company that’s credited with creating the luxury streetwear denim category and pioneering the 3-D jean scene. His first official collection as co-owner was the Elwood x25 line, designed by Williams and released in early 2017. Based on one of the brand’s most iconic silhouettes—the skinny-yet-slouchy Elwood jean—Williams dressed up the denim in 25 unexpected prints, encouraging customers to embrace their self-expression and individuality.
Following up with a Drop II collection in October of the same year, Williams dreamed up another 25 wild prints, including everything from prison stripes, chinoiserie and toile, to rococo patterns and tartan. Many of the follow-up collection’s prints were inspired by endangered animals, such as the White Bengal Tiger,
Bumblebee Poison Frog and the African Wild Dog—all in an attempt to give voice to at-risk animals who can’t speak for themselves.
Williams also took a successful stab at breathing new life into the staid suit, launching the G-Star Raw Suit Collection late last year. The edgy men’s and women’s workwear lineup centers on the iconic racer jumpsuit, reimagined in classic suit patterns like pinstripes, houndstooth and windowpane check.
Amid all of this, Williams hasn’t put his passion for sustainability on the back burner. Just this year, G-Star introduced its most sustainable denim yet, made with 100 percent organic cotton and 70 percent less chemicals. The jean is 98 percent recyclable, uses air drying to save 85 percent more energy, and is crafted with sustainable washing techniques and open source denim.
This fall, Williams is bringing fellow artist and eco-friendly entrepreneur Jaden Smith into the G-Star fold, collaborating with the young actor to release the Force of Nature collection. This sustainable denim line features nature-themed designs—which line up perfectly with the ethos of Smith’s paper water bottle company, JUST—and is sure to deliver on Williams’s promise to bring all things imagination into the G-Star’s collections.