Adriano Goldschmied is notorious within the industry for consistently addressing people across the world in one common language and product–denim. His passion and hunger for innovation has powered him through a career spanning 35 years, where he has built brands like Diesel, Replay, Gap 1969, and AG Jeans. It is Goldschmied’s vision that initially stripped the jean of its work wear legacy and positioned denim as an accessible and fashionable, lifestyle staple. It is an organic synthesis of high fashion details, vintage sensibility, fabric innovation and sincere appreciation of the luxury segment that has ensured his sartorial supremacy. We catch up with the industry leader to talk denim details.
How has the denim industry changed since your career began? Is the term “Only the brave” still applicable to denim, or has denim become a very casual concept.
The evolution of our industry has been so intense in the last 40 years that I think the only thing in common is the indigo colour. Fabrics are different, styles and fit also, but the biggest changes are definitely in the market and communication system. I think that the “only the brave” motto is still applicable to denim, as we need the same sense of innovation and unique ways of thinking to create new products.
Denim has a very iconic status; do you think its history is restrictive for young designers?
Every designer has a different approach and way of working. I feel that everybody has a very personal relation with materials, products and category of design. From my point of view, denim is like a blank canvas that can give infinite ways of developing ideas, lifestyle and aesthetics.
Can you see denim reaching into more conceptual, avant-garde territory?
In the past denim was heavily inspired by classic styles and traditional vintage concepts. Today, with the big evolutions in fabrics and finishing, and the importance of new fashion ideas, there are no boundaries and denim is going into more into conceptual explorations that are a part of a kind of Avant-garde design.
What difficulties did face when you forging your career? Can you see parallels between your journey and that of up-and-coming designers?
I feel that the most difficult thing that we have to face, both in the past and today, is about finding the money to support your project and your ideas. It is very difficult, so at any time, share your vision and engage with investors and creative people.
After so many years of designing denim, what is it that sustains your passion and interest?
The fact that there are no limits in design, opportunities to innovate, and to do things that you've never done before.
Young labels, such as Marques’Almeida, are beginning to revive denim with colour and distinctive shapes. Are there any front-running emerging designers that you can see inspiring the future of premium denim?
In my opinion they represent a new generation of denim design that has nothing to do with premium denim. Premium denim is in decline and is at the end of its cycle, as it was related mostly to 5 pockets jeans. It has been replaced by a stronger innovation in fabrics and shapes that forms a much stronger language of articulated fashion ideas. This is a new revolution in the denim world and it is what will keep it alive.
How do you see the current sustainability trend in denim? Where do you think it's going in terms of manufacturing? Can you see sustainability as more than just a trend?
Sustainability is not a trend. It is a practice that is here to stay. It is a trend only for the brands and designers that are taking advantage of it just as they have nothing to bring to the imagination of the market.
Do you think sustainability could be incorporated into denim design more than it is currently?
I think that it is imperative for every designer give more and more attention to sustainability, improving working methods and using every technology that we have available.
How much room is there for playing around with denim within the industry? In terms of technology, sourcing, fabrics, design, sustainability etc...
Room like never before. We live in an era where all the parameters are changing dramatically. Technology is evolving very quickly, fabrics even more so, and they are giving completely new possibilities to designers.
Have consumers' perception of jeans changed over the years? Can it still surprise the design world?
I think yes, but they probably don't care so much. They understand the changes and progression in material and technology very naturally. Most of the time, consumers are more ready for new things then designers.
With e-commerce growing rapidly, how has it affected the denim retail business since you've started?
The retail business is heavily affected, it is changing and it will be increasingly hard to support the online business. The online business is pushing denim to be more democratic and less exclusive. When I started, we had no idea what a computer was.
You've built a hugely successful global denim empire and have been named the 'God-father of denim', what are the key factors for being so accomplished and successful?
Just have a lot of passion for what you do, work hard and don't worry about others.