In an industry built on traditionalism and heritage before innovation, G-Star RAW continues to push the envelope with next-generation design. When the company first introduced the Elwood in 1996, the denim world hadn't seen a jean with articulated and reinforced knees. Rather than stopping there, G-Star continued to experiment with unconventional dying methods, baking fabric, adding darts and asymmetrical seams—anything to make denim more suited for the human form. The notion of 3D design takes root in traditional tailoring, copping atelier techniques for a mass-market product.
We talked to G-Star global brand director Shubhankar Ray to get insight into the special brew of influences that make the company's methods stand out.
Crossover is key, explains Ray. "There's an enormous possibility where things cross over. I came from a chemistry background, and in a chemical reaction it's a mixture of science, art and creativity all mixed together," he says. "All the reactions happen and there's a crossover moment where the energy changes." In terms of influence, G-Star looks to the likes of Le Corbusier and Dieter Rams over Levi's and Wrangler. Jeans are cut, sewn and later shaped and constructed like wearable architecture.
From bringing in Marc Newson to designing denim casings for chainsaws and speedboat motors, the company is no stranger to experimentation. A regular rotation of designers keeps things fresh and Ray's "chemical reaction" going strong. Recently, G-Star made over Jean Prouvé's timeless furniture designs in a collection called Prouvé RAW, a nod to their industrial design heritage.
The sum of all this experimentation and innovation is the building of a unique DNA. "The inspiration for it comes from a wet motorcycle courier who our head designer at the time saw," says Ray. "The jeans were kind of wet and weathered and his bottoms had curved and formed around his leg. This was the kickoff, this is the seed where that Elwood style came from." From this popular style came the Arc jean, and now G-Star incorporates the tenets of 3D design into their entire apparel line.
Find more examples of 3D design at g-star.com.