This is the story of one of the most successful European jeans brands that just like you and me really love raw denim. Many of you may be strongly biased towards the Dutch megabrand, and of course one article won’t change your perception completely. But our motive for visiting the Danish headquarters of the company was to find out whether all my presumptions about the brand were true – and naturally to give you as a reader that same opportunity. Therefore, we ask you to please put aside all your prejudices about G-Star for a moment and try to get into that neutral zen state-of-mind.
G-Star was founded in Amsterdam in 1989 by Jos van Tilburg, and the brand has always been known as a leading innovative entrepreneur in the denim industry. The company philosophy is “Just the product”, but like most other brands G-Star is much more than a product. However, following that general idea this review only features images of the products, just to let them speak for themselves.
By now some of you may wonder, “what are they paying for it?”, but let me just emphasise right away that Denimhunter wasn’t payed to do this review. But as a reporter I was inflicted by my personal opinions of the brand’s commercial status and my general attitudes towards G-Star. Some of my prejudices about the brand were confirmed, but spending a couple of hours with one of the dedicated G-Star “soldiers” made me reevaluated others.
It’s clear that G-Star is a mastodont in the business and they are highly skilled businessmen. But is that a bad thing? One thing is for sure, based on the completeness of the G-Star brand and the extremely clear red line that runs through everything the company does, I understand why people fall in love with it. I am impressed. Most of the jeans featured in this article are from the exclusive and quite nerdy “Raw Essentials” line.
Notice the chain stitched hem, a feature found on most G-Star jeans.
Almost every pair of G-Star jeans are lined in the back pockets for reinforcement. Another funny detail is revealed once you cuff your jeans to the point where it becomes “illegal”. Notice the stitches that resemble the infinity sign.
Besides RAW Essentials the focus of G-Star’s massive jeans programme is not on nerdy and technical details such as place of production, weight, or weaving and spinning methods. And let’s face it, most customers don’t care about these details anyway. However, G-Star believes that form and function must follow alongside with authentic details, which is visible in every product. In the end, G-Star is more interested in pushing the boundaries for denim and creating the denim of tomorrow.
This may be one of the reasons that many denim purist think of it more like a fashion brand than a hardcore denim brand. Also, G-Star generally focuses on logos, which especially to us minimalistic Scandinavians can be troublesome. Maybe it’s also something about our culture, deeply rooted in most Danes (and “Janteloven”) is a mantra that you should not stand too much out from the crowd. This doesn’t really comply with the G-Star universe where it’s okay to shout your name from the rooftops. That’s how you get heard.
Inside this pair of Raw Essentials is a leather belt, a quite interesting detail. Nice red line selvage fabric and lots of details.
The “Raw” of G-Star Raw was introduced in 1996 with the Elwood model (taken apart piece by piece in the picture above) that was designed by Pierre Morisset. It has become a cornerstone for the company that has since created industry standards. Morisset, who has become infamously known as the “denim surgeon”, found inspiration from the construction of motorcycle pants and introduced the 3D concept to denim engineering. The influence that the original Elwood has had on the brand’s design is still unmistakably present, for instance in the jeans below.
Sneaker-protection is a feature you will find on many G-Star Raw jeans, it keeps the dry denim from bleeding onto your new white sneaks.
Another interesting collaboration the brand has presented is with the Australian industrial designer Marc Newson, who had his breakthrough when his Lockheed lounge chair was featured in Madonna’s Rain video:
Especially the overdyed workwear-inspired selvage jeans that are made in collaboration caught my attention; this is a pair of G-Star jeans that I would definitely consider wearing.
The organic “Raw Nettle”, which is composed by 40% nettle fibres and 60% cotton is worth looking into.
Have you ever wondered what the “3301″ number that G-Star constantly uses as a subbrand? Well, it’s the fabric code of the denim that was used for the very first pair of G-Star jeans after the change to RAW in 1996, and they still use it. Soon you’ll be able to read more about it when I visit one of the G-Star Stores in Copenhagen to get a closer look.
Words by Thomas Bojer.