G-Star does more than denim. The luxe denim brand have instigated a series of crossover collaborations, creating one-off products that speak directly to their ethos of extraordinary industrial design. Unveiled at Florence's Pitti, the newest collaboration is the Leica DLux 6 "Edition by G-Star RAW," or the RAW Leica. Dazed's Fashion Features Editor, Isabella Burley, was given one of these new Leica's to test throughout Pitti Uomo. Shubhankar Ray, G-Star's congenial Global Brand Director, talks us through his osmotic approach to work and why Leica is perfectly suited to "capture the real".
Dazed Digital: What is the reason behind these crossover product collaborations?
Shubhankar Ray: G-Star's product collaborations are part of our ongoing series of crossovers which allows the brand and our design teams to playfully work with design values, materials & aesthetics of the denim industry applied to other diverse industrial objects, from bikes to furniture to cameras. For G-Star's creative team the crossover series is a raw exercise to mix our design DNA into an industrial classic – such as the Leica camera – so it can allow and encourage our designers to look outside the world of fashion and take inspiration from other worlds, which later can be an input to push the possibilities of denim design or shop architecture. The crossover series of industrial objects can also be considered R&D experiments for our design team.
DD: Why was Leica chosen as a collaborator?
Shubhankar Ray: We had long admired Leica as an iconic industrial company and love the functionality, industrial look and handmade build of Leica cameras. G-Star and Leica share similar goals of designing products with high functional and aesthetic life expectancy. A Leica camera is synonymous with the street due to being at the center of street reportage and documentary photography so Leica is rooted in capturing the real.
DD: Why is it so easy for G-Star to work so freely with other brands?
Shubhankar Ray: We are open to working with like-minded creative people and companies who share similar values as G-Star where we have mutual respect for each other's products. We are imperfect and are in a business driven by innovation where creativity or ideas become the biggest economic drivers.
DD: How did the collaboration with Anton Corbijn happen?
Shubhankar Ray: We had long been fans of Anton's iconic rock photographs and had grown up with his photos of U2, Depeche Mode, Joy Division and also loved his film on Ian Curtis. So when we met Anton we asked him to shoot our ad campaigns because his gritty style of photography matched G-Star Raw's DNA.
The SS 2010 campaign shot by Corbijn featuring Liv Tyler & number one world chess player Magnus Carlsen was my favourite campaign he shot as it was such an unexpected combination for fashion imagery. The choice of characters allowed us to play with the codes of fashion.