Denim Design and G-Star RAW: Interview with Rebekka Bach

As head womenswear designer for G-Star RAW, Rebekka Bach is at the forefront of pioneering denim design for women. Interviewing Rebekka at the Bread and Butter Tradeshow in Berlin last week we discussed the endless possibilities of denim which continue to inspire the innovation and craftsmanship at the heart of the G-Star brand philosophy. Read the interview with Rebekka to discover the latest innovations and key features of the autumn / winter 2013 G-Star RAW collection and find out why G-Star has launched a women’s only store.

What is your background in denim design?

I did my fashion degree in Denmark and I have been working with G-Star for seven years. I’ve worked with denim for more than ten years now.

G-star is experimental. Is experimentation your main approach to denim design?

My team and I are very experimental in denims. We love testing and experimenting; sewing, cutting and shaping to see how we can find the best 3D fit. I think the approach from G-Star is influenced by the very strong brand DNA which comes from our head designer Pierre Morisset. He is a great designer and a great inspiration for me personally, but for G-Star he really set our DNA. Denim craftsmanship is this season’s communication that there are endless opportunities and possibilities in denim. Since creating the first 3D denim we have made several evolutions of 3D denim, for example the Arc pant. I think G-Star is well known for its crafted denims and details.

How would you describe the G-Star woman?

The G-Star women cannot be specifically defined, but I would say she’s tough, very feminine and very independent. It’s not about age; it’s about being classic and timeless. We are very much into innovation, so we combine classic jeans with something very modern, for example the Arc pant which is a modern version of a five pocket skinny jean. The panel inside the leg gives it a three-dimensional shape and enables it to shape much better around the body. This design has been developed from the concept of not designing in 2D but designing around 3D as the body is a three-dimensional object.

Can you tell me more about the concept of the 3D denim design process?

Our craftsmanship comes from an atelier, because when you work in an atelier and work things up on real bodies you realise that when you draw things they become flat, but when you put things on the body they have much more shape. We make things for real woman’s bodies.

G-Star is renowned for its unexpected brand ambassadors. Can you reveal anything about the new G-Star brand ambassador and campaign?

This season the campaign is called the Art of RAW and it features our Skelton dog, which is a running dog. The dog is running, eager to be the first and to be the fastest and it wears a denim jacket to demonstrate the endless possibilities of denim and unexpected combinations of denim. We always put unexpected things together and the campaign shows our passion for denim and the modernity that G-Star is all about. It shows inspiration including how we think about denim; we don’t think about denim as cowboys and old vintage looks, we think about denim in a very modern way. The
campaign showcases our craftsmanship abilities in 3D cuts, as everyone can make clothes for humans but it is a challenge to make clothes for a running dog.

Do you find it is a difficult balance to maintain the traditional G-Star DNA whilst also continuing to innovate the brand?

We are not trying to ‘catch fashion’, for example, we are not trying to create statement catwalk pieces, but we have a very strong DNA and it is not difficult to keep developing new innovations in womenswear. We always have so many things we’d like to put into a new collection and someone has to say ‘No, we cannot do all this!’ The owner of G-Star always tells us when we start anything that the sky is the limit, so we can do whatever we want. We believe everything is possible and we always have so many ideas starting off of how we can explore the endless possibilities of denim. There is nothing that is not possible to do and we want to make it possible to do everything.

Are there any hero products in the autumn / winter 2013 womenswear collection?

Our hero product is called the Jeg Skinny and it is a skinny jegging/jean. The secret is in this jean is not only about fit but about fabric innovation, as the fabric has very high stretch ability and ninety five percent recovery. This means that when you put on the jeans in the morning, they will stay tight and hold until you take them off at night. I know that there are many variations of skinny, slim jeans on the market today, but you are lucky to find jeans which have good stretch and good fit.

Is this the reason why G-Star opened a women’s only store?

Yes, the main reason for the women’s only store is because we realised that it is very hard for women to find the perfect fitting jeans and that is very stressful for women. A lot of stores don’t give any advice about fit and which jeans you should go for depending on your size or shape or the look you would like to have. We found out that we have one of the broadest ranges of women’s denim and in the seven years I have worked for G-Star we have really worked a lot of detailing in to every design and we are very confident that that we have a whole, strong collection every season.

Can you tell me anything about the striking blue colour featured throughout the autumn / winter collection?

We have done a lot of research this season to find perfect blue shades for our denim and we have found a blue colour called the RAW Mazarine, meaning butterfly. We describe the RAW Mazarine as indigo and think of it as shades of deep, dark beautiful blues. The inspiration came from a French fabric called Toile de Chine and the philosophy behind it is to weave a fabric from two directions, weft and warp, to create a very saturated, intense blue colour that is totally unique.

What was the key influence of the autumn / winter collection?

At G-Star we always think about the continuation of 3D denim and denim craftsmanship, and this season we have worked a lot with new silhouettes. For us, silhouettes enable women to express toughness and coolness, and for G-Star women we are influenced a lot by menswear inspired clothing, but fitted to a women’s body.

You often mix denim and tailoring to create masculine silhouettes for women. What can we expect from the autumn / winter collection?

We have a philosophy of pairing unexpected combinations and recently we have been mixing the G- Star RAW look with tailoring. Inspired by Charlie Chaplain, the 3D, low-crotched Charlie pant is a typical G-Star silhouette and is an evolution of the men’s A-Crotch jean. I like these jeans worn with a smart white shirt.

Finally, what is the next big thing in denim?

For autumn / winter in terms of denim wash it is our RAW Mezarine, and for denim fit it is the Jeg Skinny. But we always continue to develop new designs and new silhouettes. We are like the running dog; determined to be the first and the fastest.

Interview written for, can also be read at

G-Star A/W 2013 - Berlin

Contradiction, craftsmanship and innovation; these were the defining themes of the G-Star Autumn/Winter 2013 collection presented in Berlin earlier this week. Staged within the imposing haunt of St Agnes-Kirche and including a surprise guest appearance by new RAW icon Michael Madsen, the collection was an impressive exploration of the endless possibilities of RAW denim showcased in the most unexpected of forms.

When it comes to pushing the limits of denim to create experimental yet functional pieces to live in, G-Star knows no boundaries. 'Everything is possible.' Yet the collection wasn’t just about denim. With strong military, aviation, working and hunting influences at the core of both the menswear and womenswear collections, experimental fabrics, new colours and bold silhouettes were combined with denim pieces to encapsulate the essence of modernity, wearability and timelessness.

A striking feature throughout the A/W collection was the intense Mazarine blue denim colour, inspired by the beautiful French fabric Toile de Chine. This unique denim colour and the contrast of tough, utilitarian pieces paired with delicate tailoring set the tone for a commanding collection of contradictory yet complementary combinations. Key pieces included structured jackets with 3D sleeves made from crisp, heavy denim fabrics for men and the slim, stretchy Jeg skinny jean for women. The low-crotched, tapered Charlie pant merged elements of denim and tailoring to create a relaxed, androgynous silhouette for both men and women.

With innovation and craftsmanship as key driving forces behind the Autumn/Winter collection, the unconventional running Skeleton Dog featured in the latest RAW campaign is symbolic of a fervency to be the first and the fastest in denim design. Combining contradictions has given G-Star an edge.

Full review and runway images can be viewed at

Berlin Fashion Week January 2013

Attending Berlin a second time for Fashion Week last week, I fell in love with the eclecticism of Berlin once again. This time the purpose of my trip was to explore the heart of the alternative but undeniably cool fashion scene. Having visited Berlin a few years ago with friends from Sixth Form, exploring the history and seeing the famous sights, I wasn't sure if another trip would have as much of a profound impact on me this time as it did the first time round. However, it did; even more so this time perhaps, as I felt I was less of a tourist on this trip and more of a researcher; discovering trends and immersing myself further into the diverse culture of the city.

Visiting major trade shows such as Bread and Butter, Premium, BRIGHT, Seek, Capsule and Show and Order I  identified key Autumn/Winter trends in the denim, urban and streetwear categories of the fashion market by familiarising myself with some of the most covetable streetwear brands on the market. Now I'm the first to admit that 'street' is not my usual style. I knew little about denim and streetwear beforehand, and arriving many of the trade shows it seemed pretty clear that in order to look the part you needed to be wearing some sort of beanie hat, or a snapback. I didn't, but then it wouldn't have gone particularly with my trench-style camel coat would it...  

It was extremely interesting to meet so many inspiring people to chat to them about the influences of their collections an the philosophies of their brands. It was enriching to see so much originality, craftsmanship and passion expressed through the medium of clothes; not just about 'T-Shirts and exclusivity', I came to understand that streetwear is all about how you live and how you express yourself. With music and art at its centre, streetwear speaks to a spectrum of subcultures from skateboarding and hip-hop, and although many of the brands are niche and highly exclusive, none were pretentious. The majority were very keen to talk to me in depth, and not just because I'm fashion writer looking for brands to profile. (Ok, maybe that is why!)

I will be featuring individual brand profiles, interviews, trend reports and runway reviews throughout the next few days, as not only did I visit numerous trade shows, I also attended Fashion Week runway shows, with the highlight being the G-Star A/W 13 show at the stunning location of St Agnes Kirche. Writing on behalf of I was invited to interview G-Star womenswear designer Rebekka Bach as well as attend the runway show and the after party at Berlin's illustrious and outlandish club Kater Holzig. All were fantastic experiences which I shall elaborate in greater detail in subsequent posts.

Sad to leave Berlin at the end of the week, I know it is a city I will go back to again in the future as soon as I have the chance. The inspiring air of creativity and intriguing sense of style which permeates the city is completely enthralling; mesmerising and infectious. From the fashion and the food, the art and the architecture and the people and the parties, Berlin pretty much has everything. If you havn't been yet, I urge you to go. 


Givenchy S/S 2013 Campaign

Having taken a few weeks out over Christmas and New Year to spend quality time with family and make plans for 2013, blogging is once again a key part of my agenda!

Just a few days into the new year, a glimpse of Givenchy's stunning S/S 2013 campaign has got me excited about the fashion we can expect for 2013. Exuding a feeling of nonchalant cool and minimal elegance, it’s a collection that I am instantly drawn to. But the nature of the campaign itself adds much to the appeal; the exquisite series of black and white images captured by pioneering photography duo Mert Alas and Marcus Pigott and styled by Carine Roitfeld features a selection of Ricardo Tisci's friends, including Kate Moss who is making her Givenchy debut. Others featured in the campaign are artists Marina Abramovic and Jared Buckhieste, bullfighter Jose Maria Manzanares, and models Francisco Peralta and Mariacarla Boscono with her four-month-old baby. 

As part of a university project, I have spent the last few months analysing the portrayal of diversity in contemporary fashion media (or lack of it). It is uplifting to observe such a sophisticated campaign casting real, inspirational people and endorsing traditional values whilst still communicating an aspirational message. The campaign depicts an intimate story which celebrates the strength and natural inner beauty of women regardless of age or anything else. Givenchy explained that the pictures are about 'accepting women the way they are', with no hair or make-up to distract attention from the casting or the clothes. The campaign exhales 'family trust, friendship, faithfulness and love' and Tisci said of the campaign, 'It’s about family- something that is difficult to find in today’s world. It’s about real people, only taking the best of their personalities, with no effort.'

What I find particularly striking about Givenchy's new campaign is the behind-the-scenes film which centres on religious iconography revealing a dramatic roman catholic influence. Some images, such as Mariacarla Boscono clutching her 4 month old child, are symbolic of the Madonna, whilst others appear indicative of priesthood, such as the image of Abramovic dressed all in black but for a flash of a white around a cleric-style collar. Emotive and intense, I urge you to watch this incredibly thought-provoking and empowering short film:

The darkness, the romance, the mystery...I can't help but be mesmerised by Givenchy. Religious connotations aside, the menswear and womenswear pieces featured in the campaign  embody the essence of effortless glamour, and from luxe T-shirts and crisp white shirts to tailored black jackets and elegant flounce trimmed dresses, I am keen to see this collection up close. The killer studded heels at the very end of the film certainly caught my eye! 

All images from Givenchy S/S 2013 campaign.