In April, G-Star Raw opened its new OMA-designed headquarters in the industrial Zuidoost area of Amsterdam. A superfuture fortress made of concrete, glass, and steel, the building was designed to feel as colossal and spacious as an airport hangar upon approach. We arrived by canal boat, G-Star’s own, with Remco de Nijs, their very handsome and charming global brand manager, and can vouch for the building’s exceptional, almost intimidating scale. In Amsterdam, where slender houses line narrow streets along lean waterways, it might be the biggest thing ever.
Remco described G-Star (and its new HQs) for us in three words: “raw, innovative, and 3-dimensional.” He’s been with the brand for 17 years, and in his current role he does a bit of everything, from marketing and PR, to design and – on the day we met him – editor entertaining. “It’s quite diverse,” he said of his job. “That’s why I love it so much.”
His jeans, a year-old pair of tapered skinnies from G-Star’s Marc Newson collection, are the exact opposite of Remco’s role – steady; he wears them all day, every day, never straying, from these or any pair he’s owned since his love affair with denim began. Well, minus a pair that got left behind in a hotel room in Barcelona (see below)…but that’s another story.
Tell us about the jeans you’re wearing.
Well, I really like to commit to jeans and wear them every day, so they create a kind of patchwork of my own experience. I started wearing these when they were untreated, pure, and raw, and I’ve worn them without washing them. And slowly they’ve taken on my identity – the position of my knees, my wallet, my keys. I really like doing it that way. These jeans are from a collaboration with Marc Newson, which is one of the collaborations that we do every season. And they are a selvedge, about one and a half years old. I wear them very intensely. And that’s the beauty of our denim now – you can wear denim anywhere, to a funeral or wedding or to the office or going out. It is a seven-day item.
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think about those jeans?
Dedication. It’s a commitment.
If your jeans could talk, what would they say about you?
They’d say I’m a true denim lover.
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What’s the most memorable place that your jeans have been?
What I said already, if you wear them seven days a week, I think what is most memorable is the journey. And at the end of the journey, your jeans say something about where you’ve been.
Was there ever a pair that you had that got away?
Yes. It was quite sad. You travel so much – you know how it goes – you wake up too late, and you have to catch a plane, and you forget the right shoe or your favorite white tee, but it’s also happened to my favorite jeans.
Do you remember the exact pair?
Yeah. It was when we introduced raw denim in 1997 – we did some true, premium raw, [Japanese mill] Kaihara selvedge, and I wore a pair of them so intensely for one year. They were just getting more and more beautiful…and then I lost them in Barcelona in a hotel. And I had to start all over again with a new pair.
Do you have a pair of G-Stars that only you could love?
Not everybody understands the affection that I have for denim, so there are always people in life who don’t appreciate what I’m wearing, I guess.
Do you remember your first pair of jeans?
My first jeans were OshKosh dungarees. I just have a picture of them, but I don’t remember wearing them. Those were my first, and I think I was three years old.
What do your jeans say about the way that you live on a daily basis?
I wish they could talk by themselves! I never buy jeans just for collecting, I always like wearing them until they are totally, totally destroyed and I can’t use them anymore. aAnd then I archive them. I keep every pair I’ve ever worn. I’m very selective – if I pick a pair, then I’m dedicated to them and I wear them every day.
Fill in the blank: Without my jeans I am…
Nobody. I can’t imagine a life without jeans. What would I wear? I don’t know. I am so not comfortable in a suit. Not even in a blazer jacket. To me denim is everything.
In my jeans I am…
Totally me. Totally in my comfort zone.