Julien Aledo has been part of G-Star for the last eight years, as the export manager in charge of the Greek, Belgian and French development of the brand; Ozon met up with him to talk about denim and his trip to Athens.
What led you into fashion business? My father was a retailer in France and began educating me in the fashion business when I was 5 years old. It was fascinating to see him having a new challenge every 6 months; he was always busy and it never stopped (monthly deliveries, seasonal changes, etc).
What would you call “real” and what is an illusion in the denim industry? I love the passion from the people working in this industry; I like the fact that they are proud of denim. Those people respect denim as if it is a very noble quality. And what is an illusion? Thinking that denim is dead; jeans are always undergoing development: ways of cutting the pattern, ways of weaving the fabrics, ways of washing the denim. Creatively, there are no limits and I don’t see the market slowing down. Denim isn’t about target groups anymore. It’s more about a mindset: everyone feels like wearing a pair of jeans some days. I wear them every day of course. I sleep in them!
What do you think makes G-Star so special and helps it stand out from other fashion brands? Since the premiere of Raw Denim in 1996 G-Star has broadened its concept to include a newer, edgier image that’s appealing to all styles, trends and ages, while keeping the product in the purest form. It is a brand of all times, futuristic and cautious; far-reaching and experimental; alternative and traditional. G-Star is about making eccentric combinations while maintaining authenticity; never one to follow the crowd, just the Product.
What was the main goal of your trip to Athens? To present the new autumn / winter collection 2009 to our Greek partners and establish a strong and healthy distribution within the Greek market.
Why isn’t G-Star so strong within the Greek market as yet? G-Star has already become a permanent fixture within the denim market and the brand has established itself in 17 countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA) as well as currently occupying 28 offices and 90 showrooms around the globe. G-Star is still a young concept in Greece, but brand awareness is growing each season.
What do you think about Greeks and the way they dress? I think it is very south-oriented, you can feel the emotion within the Greeks whether they are communicating or dressing.
What should we expect in the near future from G-Star? Any surprises? Any new collaborations? We have our new S/S 09 campaign curated by the international photographer Anton Corbijn. For the spring/summer 2009 campaign, models have been replaced by the actors Toby Kebbell and Alexandra Maria Lara. Both came to G-Star’s attention thanks to their performances in the award-winning movie “Control” and will front the new advertisements. British born Toby made his initial breakthrough in “Dead Man’s Shoes” and is now receiving rave reviews for his performance in Guy Ritchie’s “Rock’n’Rolla”. I should also mention that our runway show during the NYFW was curated by Benicio Del Toro; recently we’ve also launched our 3301 Records imprint, a Raw Experiment that exposes our passion for music to a wider, international audience and adds a distinctive sound to the G-Star brand; it’s a mishmash fusion of pop and rock, electro and disco classics. Lastly, in July 2009 we will launch the G-Star new line by designer Marc Newson.
What do you enjoy most during your stays in Athens? The kindness and the hospitality of the Greek people.