THE INSIDER: RENZO ROSSO
Diesel's mastermind wants you to believe in the power of denim.
I spent much of my youth prowling Toronto in search of Diesel jeans, shoes, and just about any other item from the Italian brand. It always seemed to me that since its launch in 1978, Diesel has been one of the few denim brands out there that gets fresher and edgier every year. So when we heard that Mr. Diesel himself, Renzo Rosso (CEO of Diesel) was going to be in the city to talk about the milestone, I was excited to tell him that for thirty, the brand has never looked better.
This story was published on October 15, 2008.
What's this thirty year journey been like for you?
It’s been incredible. Thirty years of experience and thirty years of suffering, because I’m a pioneer. When you are a pioneer, you always do something new and something fresh. And when you do new things, people can't accept it. So when I came here to sell denim in the country where denim was born, it was quite difficult to open the door.
How do you see Diesel continuing to develop its lifestyle philosophy in the future?
We always have new young blood in the company. And thanks to these young designers we have fresh energy. They inspire me, and I’m able to drive the company as it is today. The day that I have to work only for money is the time to give my position to somebody else.
How has your outlook changed from when you started out?
It changes every season. The world has changed in a lot of aspects over the years and the strength of Diesel is that every year we change internally. We adopt a strategy, from the collection to the business, to be current. We’re always changing.
Have you achieved many of your goals for the company?
More than I think. I never imagined that it would become a nice big company like we have today. Even yesterday I cried when people started to send me SMS that at stores around the world, thousands were waiting in line to buy the jeans. To see how the young generation loves the brand was an incredible moment for me.
How has the denim market changed over the years?
The denim consumer has changed a lot over the last fifteen years. A few years ago there was an incredible invasion and everybody wanted to do a denim collection. But we are one of the few that can say that we’re the original.
Do you have a favorite pair of jeans?
I’m very much in love at this moment with black denim. Very black denim with a clean fit.
Do you have any advice for young designers or entrepreneurs?
I would tell them to believe in what they're doing. And if they want to succeed, they need to do something different from what exists, because you’re doing something new people will pay attention. Even if you’re very small, people will come visit you. Through the internet, the world is open for everybody. I think I’m a good example of that.