Isko
Isko's round table focused on the theme "Inspiration Overseas".
 

17 Jun. 2013

Isko discusses denim's history & future

In Castello San Salvatore, near Treviso, Italy, Isko held a round table focused on the theme "Inspiration Overseas" that presented opinions about the past, present and future of the denim market.

The event, organised by Isko with exclusive partner Denim By Premiere Vision, involved Adriano Goldschmied (founder, Genius Group, AG Goldschmied and Goldsign), Elio Fiorucci (founder, Fiorucci and Love Therapy), Katharine Hamnett (fashion designer and member Genius Group), Scott Morrison (founder, 3x1), Vladimiro Baldin (Product development and style coordination director, Diesel), Raffaello Napoleone (CEO, Pitti Immagine) and Philippe Pasquet (CEO, Premiere Vision).

The event presented the opinions of denim gurus and personalities pointing out differences and similarities between how the jean garment has through the years transformed itself into a fashion and lifestyle product. "Denim for our generation was a uniform and a flag, a kind of symbol of a generation that was thinking differently from the previous ones," commented Goldschmied. "Denim is a friendly fabric," commented Elio Fiorucci. "It originates from workwear, though today you can wear it any time - when you go to the seaside, to the mountain and even when you go to Scala theatre. It is rich with possibilities." And adds: "Goldschmied has always dared innovating so much in this field, earlier than anyone. Moreover, I think that denim is a 'definitive' fabric: the more you wear it, the more you appreciate how honest and beautiful it is."

The quest for inspiration was another topic the event focused on. "Architecture, design and structure influence my work, even if everyone finds his own ideas from different sources of inspiration," commented Morrison. “Diesel and Replay, for instance, gave me great inspiration, as many other US, Italian and Japanese brands. It is a quest for innovation."

Contrariwise, Diesel works following the idea of contamination, as explained by Baldin: "We listen to many young kids in order to put together a sort of creative chaos until when we find the right idea." Pitti's Napoleone agrees contamination is key: "Fashion needs to be inspired by every kind of creativity. You can create because you are open-minded and look at all the lifestyles of your time. This is how we work too by visiting shoes and scouting new brands and trends in order to present a complete vision of the market - that ranges from the jeanswear world to classic menswear."

According to Premiere Vision's Pasquet the denim market is structured like a community: "The denim world is a very special community and our Denim BY PV trade show - that we founded in 2007 - is the place where people meet to exchange ideas and get new creative hints."

The present market is characterised by fast-ness - both in terms of scenario and consumer habits. “Today's market is dominated by vertical chains and different market segments - even in denim," comments Goldschmied. "Younger consumers look more for fast and cheap products sold through chain stores, while more sophisticated customers have a higher spending power and look for superior products. For this reason jeans today represent a new aesthetics." According to Fiorucci, it is easier today for a jean brand to impose itself because the real revolution already started years ago: "When I opened my own store in Milan's Piazza San Babila, my neighbours were only classic apparel stores and everyone only wore formal apparel. Stores are today the new stage of the world: I was the first to use quartz lighting systems and I hosted a music band playing Beatles hits live inside my store. Today you can do so many things inside a fashion shop!"

The future for many is hard to guess. But, Katharine Hamnett has a clear vision: "You cannot discuss what the young generation will wear if they don’t have jobs. The real problem is that we have to go back and have jeans produced in Italy, in the UK, in Europe and in the US," she comments. "Law systems should oblige companies to pay higher salaries and ensure better security conditions. This applies also to people working, for instance, in Bangladesh. This way, not only would people not risk their lives anymore, but also Europe could become competitive again as a site of production for apparel and jeans. You Italians have such great manual abilities it would be a pity if all of this was lost. Moreover, environmental standards should become the rule. This way the clothes we wear would be made with materials that are not grown with pesticides and without wasting too much water. Only if we consider these aspects will the jeans and fashion market have a future."

After the round table a huge party visited by many jeans and denim insiders, and Italian and international press, celebrated the event.
Maria Cristina Pavarini

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