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Evolution of Style: The Captivating Journey of G-Star Raw

Taking it back to the future, the G-Star Elwood returns

In the dynamic realm of fashion, where trends ebb and flow like seasons, there emerges a brand that not only withstands the test of time but also has helped shape the very contours of the industry. G-Star RAW is this brand, marked by its creativity, craftsmanship, and an explorative spirit that has propelled it from its origins to a global success. Embark with us on this journey of G-Star RAW, tracing its trajectory from inception to its current reign, as we commemorate the relaunch of the 1996 G-Star Elwood and the introduction of the Glamcult X G-Star RAW limited-edition capsule collection.

G-Star RAW’s first chapter unfurled in the heart of Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1989. In those early years, the brand was christened ‘Gap Star,’ embodying its aspiration to fuse high-end fashion with streetwear culture. With the debut of its inaugural collection, a distinct narrative materialised, woven from the very fabric of raw, unadulterated denim – a conscious choice that would go on to define the brand’s essence and cement its stature.

This transformative juncture for G-Star RAW materialised with the bold commitment towards raw denim onto the fashion stage. This fabric, often referred to as “selvedge” or “dry” denim, became the cornerstone of G-Star RAW’s devotion to the unrefined. In stark contrast to the pre-faded denim that held precedence during that era, G-Star RAW embraced the potential within the raw, allowing wearers to script their narratives through natural fades and patterns that emerged with each wear. This departure from convention set the brand on a trajectory of authenticity and individuality, a path that continues as they persist in “exploring the endless limits of denim” within the distinct realm they’ve carved for themselves within the denim landscape.

Another pivotal departure from the conventions of the jeans industry was also G-Star RAW’s 5620 Elwood (the reason it is back today!). “Although commonplace now, crafting a non-denim garment from denim was unconventional in the 1990s,” they affirm. Indeed, “the Elwood was first to be widely embraced by trendsetters,” as conveyed by the G-Star RAW design team. So, as the ’90s evolved into the new millennium, G-Star RAW underwent a new aesthetic metamorphosis, infusing an industrial ruggedness and military nuances into its designs, transcending the confines of ‘just’ jeans. This fusion birthed an aesthetic best described as “luxury denim for everyday wear.” Utilitarian elements emerged as the crux of G-Star RAW’s identity, with oversized pockets, intricate hardware, and textures reminiscent of battle-tested terrains becoming the hallmarks of the brand’s distinct style and full ensembles.

G-Star RAW’s revolution continued to unfold as a fusion of unrefined elegance interwoven with street culture. Collaborations further enriched the brand’s odyssey, forging partnerships that not only sparked innovation but also embraced sustainability. For instance, their collaboration with Marc Newson gave rise to the “G-Star RAW for the Oceans” collection, crafted from recycled ocean plastic to yield exceptional denim pieces. Their alliance with Pharrell Williams added a cultural dimension, infusing the brand with a rhythm that resonated beyond the confines of fashion. G-Star RAW’s dedication to sustainability and technological advancement has also solidified its status as a pioneer in a conscientious fashion. So, as initiatives such as the “Most Sustainable Jeans” underscore its commitment to harmonising aesthetics and ethics, the brand continues to showcase that fashion can be a mode of self-expression while also honouring the environment.

Through ingenious denim techniques like “3D Denim”, G-Star RAW consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation, cementing its reputation as a vanguard in denim craftsmanship. Today, G-Star RAW commands a global presence across over 70 countries, perpetually innovating through collaborations and collections that pay homage to its distinctive heritage.

Thus, as we approach the renaissance of the 1996 G-Star Elwood, we bear witness to a resurgence of interest among today’s audience. This revival underscores the prescience/presence of the G-Star Elwood and its enduring appeal, now rejuvenated to its modern-day wearer. “The G-Star Elwood was a fusion of a motorcycle pant and a carpenter pant, responding to a market yearning for jeans with a distinctive ‘stance’”, their design team divulged. “The 3D shaping at the knee birthed a distinct ‘broken’ slouched silhouette” they expand, “while the heel-pad was ideal for trailing behind retro 70s sneakers”. Ultimately, the same way the G-Star Elwood catapulted the brand onto the cultural radar in 1996, today’s relaunch is set to ignite a similar impact among the new generation of tastemakers.

The story of G-Star RAW, from its beginnings to its current prominence, encapsulates authenticity, innovation, and individuality. From its initial exploration of raw denim to its unwavering commitment to sustainability and its expanding horizons, G-Star RAW has consistently led the way in the evolution of fashion. As the brand continues its journey, skilfully blending reinvention with its core values, the narrative of G-Star RAW continues to captivate fashion enthusiasts around the globe.


Words by Grace Powell

Images courtesy of G-Star RAW

Shop the G-Star Elwood here

Watch this space for the Glamcult x G-Star capsule collection coming soon!