To me the words artisan or guru are synonymous with Adriano. Labeled by most in the industry as the “Godfather of denim” even outside of the industry if you are not immediately familiar with his name, you already know his work. Adriano has built brands like Diesel, Replay, Gap 1969, and AG Adriano Goldschmied just to name a few. In all the research I have done, I can’t seem to find anyone but him as the originator of “Premium denim”.
Rather than focus on the past, Adriano is a man of the future. With a career spanning the decades, the most important projects to him are probably the ones he hasn’t even created yet as the Founder + Creative Director of Goldsign as well as Creative Director for Citizens of Humanity men’s division.
I caught up with Adriano recently to ask a few questions and thought the answers were all so interesting that I’m posting the interview unedited.
1. Carly: Why Denim?
Adriano Goldschmied: Denim was the flag of the young generation in the 70`s. At that time, there was a strong conflict between generations with their different ways of thinking. As we were dreaming about a new world, denim was our uniform. In addition, denim is the only fabric that you can change all the time creating new effects and looks. It was the perfect canvas to represent our dreams.
*Editors note: I love this answer!
2. Carly Tati: You’ve had a long line of successful brands, but what gave you that very first vision of luxury denim, when that was a market that didn’t exist?
Adriano Goldschmied: Since day one, I started my business in Cortina d`Ampezzo in Italy which was a sophisticated and luxury winter resort. So I started to design for that customer. With my first brand, King`s jean, I discovered how to make a fashion product out of denim, with my second line, Daily Blue (1975) I brought the concept of luxury in denim.
3. Carly Tati: Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
Adriano Goldschmied: I never thought or wanted to be a designer, I didn’t think I was able to do it. I was simply trying to make my customers happy by bringing them new and innovative products. A designer, in those days, was only working in high fashion.
4. Carly Tati: Can you share a little about the early days, before denim? I remember a fascinating story you told me involving a van filled with things you were selling and motorcycle riding throughout several countries?
Adriano Goldschmied: The early, early days were not about denim. It was more about brocades, flowers prints, deco jacquards. All the ethnic stuff was very hot and I was traveling to get it with friends in Asia and Eastern countries in an old Volkswagen van.
5. Carly Tati: You have been a mentor, and teacher to many including myself. Is there a mentor that stands out in your mind as being influential in you getting your start?
Adriano Goldschmied: I don’t know if I’ve been a mentor…it was not really my intention. I just love to put together teams of people and have a lot of fun. My real mentor was not a fashion guy…he was a chef and owner of a very famous restaurant in Cortina, he taught me how to appreciate taste and how to make things that people like. He also taught me how to market the products and the importance of innovation.
6. Carly Tati: What was the biggest thing that you learned from the early days that helped you in succeeding with your business today?
Adriano Goldschmied: If you say no, people want it more and they enjoy it more when they get it.
7. Carly Tati: What do you think the next major shift in denim will be?
Adriano Goldschmied: I could make billions if I was able to answer this question…I just do things and later realize they are important…
8. Carly Tati: What’s the most innovative thing you see happening in the denim industry right now?
Adriano Goldschmied: That we try to make the denim business with a new sense of morality and we start to care about the sustainability and future of our planet.
9. Carly Tati: I’m seeing a momentum towards sustainability. I know this is something you are passionate about. Being such a visionary, what are you doing to help lead the efforts?
Adriano Goldschmied: This is true, it is not only about a passion for sustainability, I feel it is my mission. I think that technology and research are the things that together will change the way we do business.
10. Carly Tati: Do you ever find some of your original designs from the Diesel, Replay or Gap 1969 lines in the flea markets or vintage stores?
Adriano Goldschmied: Yes, I do, but not frequently. At that time, excluding Gap 1969, our distribution was not very big so there are not many pieces out there.
11. Carly Tati: Do you have a collection of vintage denim?
Adriano Goldschmied: Yes, but not in the way that you probably would think. I am not a major collector and my job is not to do perfect replica’s. My job is to come up with new ideas. So vintage, to me, is just a tool to get started and I don`t revere it as much as others might.
12.Carly Tati: If you were on a deserted island and could only take one of your pairs of jeans with you, what would they be?
Adriano Goldschmied: You don`t need jeans in a deserted island, but, anyway for sure simple Levis 501’s.
14. Carly Tati: After having achieved such successes, how do you continue to reinvent?
Adriano Goldschmied: It is simple, don’t think about the past, think about the future.
15. Carly Tati: If you weren’t designing denim, what would you be designing?
Adriano Goldschmied: Leather
16. Carly Tati: What’s one piece of advice that you would give someone trying to get into the industry?
Adriano Goldschmied: Have passion and do what you feel is right. Just follow your inspiration.
17. Carly Tati: What would you consider, if you could only chose one, the best city in the world for denim?
Adriano Goldschmied: Amsterdam
18. Carly Tati: What’s the thing you miss most about living in Italy?
Adriano Goldschmied: My old friends
19. Carly Tati: I remember obsessing over some of the fabrics you had made over the years, the softness and drape, the character. What brought on your passion for fabric development?
Adriano Goldschmied: I was thinking of being an engineer…I love the idea of creating something that does not exist yet but starting with something that is in our textile culture.
20. Carly Tati: Looking back on your career there have so many important contributions you have made with your work. Which one is the one that you are most proud of?
Adriano Goldshmied: I don’t give so much importance to the things that I did. Maybe the thing that I am most proud of is that I have been contributing and inspiring the generation under me such as Renzo Rosso, Claudio Buziol, Jerome Dahan, Jason Denham and many others.
21. Carly Tati: Denim on denim has been a trend for decades now, and has been trending in the recent denim scene. Do you think the momentum will continue?
Adriano Goldschmied: Probably but I am not a big fan of it. I like fantasy and the idea that people can mix things and then creates new styles…I hate rules in fashion.
22. Carly Tati: Best espresso in LA
Adriano Goldschmied: Home
23. Carly Tati: Favorite pasta in LA
Adriano Goldschmied: Home
24. Carly Tati: Current muses that are inspiring you?
Adriano Goldschmied: Pin ups of the 50`s, real women…and my long time fit model.
25. Carly Tati: What song are you listening to right now?
Adriano Goldschmied: The Ramones music
26. Carly Tati: What’s your favorite style of all times that you created?
Adriano Goldschmied: I don’t know, I forget things like that so easily…may be the first 1969 or the first AG that I did in Italy.
27. Carly Tati: What are your most current projects on the horizon with Goldsign and Citizens?
Adriano Goldschmied: The collaboration with J Crew that just hit stores. I love Mickey Drexler, he is so full of energy!
28. Carly Tati: What’s the one item the Goldsign girl should have in her wardrobe now?
Adriano Goldschmied: A good wallet
So there you have it everyone. An interview with Adriano Goldschmied.
You can check out the current collections at: http://www.goldsign.us & http://citizensofhumanity.com/gallery/men
Ladies, if you haven’t tried his jeans yet, the fit is among the best in the industry. The misfit and high rise cigarette have been staples for me for years!
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