Diesel's Fall 2011 line gives bold-hued assortment of lace-up denim, thick cabled knits, and military-inspired jackets laced with a bit of rock 'n' roll. Traditional fall colors are complemented by python-prints and yummy leather.
"Beginning as a company focused on making quality clothing, Diesel has become part of youth culture worldwide. It can legitimately claim to be the first brand to believe truly in the global village and to embrace it with open arms"
The brand Diesel was born more than 20 years ago and is today an innovative international design company, manufacturing jeans and casual clothing as well as accessories. It is present in over 80 countries with 10,000 points of sale and almost 50 company-owned stores.
When Renzo Rosso founded the company in 1978, he wanted it to be a leader, a company which took chances and carved out a niche for itself in its field. He surrounded himself with creative, talented people - innovators who, like him, rejected the slavish trend-following typical of the fashion industry. Renzo wanted to come up with a more dynamic and imaginative line of clothing than was available anywhere. He gave his open-minded new designers broad stylistic freedom, hoping they could create a line of clothing perfect for people who follow their own independent path in life. Particularly for those who decide to express their individuality also by the way they dress.
From the very beginning, Diesel's design team turned their backs on the style-dictators and consumer forecasters of the fashion establishment and let their own tastes lead them. It is for this reason that Diesel immediately became a leader in developing styles, fabrics, manufacturing methods and quality control, guaranteeing an outstanding quality product.
The company views the world as a single, border-less macro-culture. And the Diesel staff reflects this: a wide variety of people and personalities from all parts of the globe, creating an unpredictable, dynamic vitality and energy within the company. Diesel people and their working methods are so unconventional, and yet productive, that they have been profiled in countless magazines, newspapers and documentary television programmes, and have been studied by international conglomerates, consulting organizations, universities and business schools.
Diesel's "historical moments" include mile-stones like 1978 (creation of the brand name), 1985 (Renzo Rosso's complete acquisition of the company), 1991 (beginning of the international marketing strategy) and 1996 (opening of Diesel's first flagship store on New York City's Lexington Avenue).
Ever since the beginning, Renzo Rosso believed in addressing the world with one product and one language, and one of his first steps was building a solid and vast distribution platform stretching across all 5 continents.
Most of Diesel's current production is outsourced, to small and medium-sized companies. Production of denim jeans is based exclusively in Italy. All international logistics operations (wholesale and retail) are centrally managed and carefully controlled.
Today Diesel is a global concern with a consolidated annual turnover of 575 billion Lire (US$ 330 millions), 85% of which is generated outside Italy. The Headquarters are located in Molvena, in the north-eastern part of Italy, where the company manages 17 subsidiaries across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Diesel employs over 2650 people worldwide (1230 in Wholesale and 1420 in Retail).
"The Haute Couture of Casual"
Diesel design does not follow established trends. It is largely unaffected by fads occurring within the fashion circles; it is innovative and at times a bit radical, but always shows a careful attention to detail and a focus on quality in the selection of materials and production techniques. Diesel collections effectively precede trends and do not respond to them, while at the same time the emphasis on quality is never compromised. This focus on independent working methods and strong quality almost seems to translate within the company into an attitude towards living - the Diesel way.
The Style and Graphic Offices literally work side by side in one huge open space, a creative group strengthening itself through close collaboration. Diesel's stylists come from widely diverse cultures and backgrounds, and they all contribute to the creation of a truly global product. Every line is designed by a dedicated group of people (1 stylist, 1 assistant and 1 product manager), who get their inspiration from the most unpredictable places. Diesel designers are famous for their strange self-planned research trips around the world!
The main product lines are:
D-Diesel - a collection focused mainly on denim for men and women full of unique details and constantly new finishings
DieselStyleLab - a high-end casual collection pioneering in design, fabrics and product innovation for an individual dresser who looks for new design and enjoys wearable clothing
Diesel Kids - clothing for young people who love the thrill of exploration. Bright colors, confident, modern lines - gutsy clothing for a gutsy generation
55DSL - a strong and independent sportswear collection, anti-gravity clothing for lovers of emerging extreme and action sports and for the new generations
"Diesel isn't just about making clothing and accessories. Its design team is creating Diesel 'spaces' which help communicate the message and the feeling of the products it is selling"
Parallel to its wholesale distribution through multi-brand stores and corners (in chain and department stores), in 1996 Diesel embarked on a new adventure: retail. Flagship stores (New York, London, San Francisco, Rome) and single-brand stores (from Santa Monica to Milan, from Paris to Antwerp) are the ideal vehicle to bring the Diesel concept to life in its entirety, providing enough space to showcase all Diesel collections. While each individual store is unique, they all share a similar atmosphere. The stores help Diesel's retail and wholesale divisions to grow simultaneously because they strengthen the company's image and increase customer product awareness: they guide the market and help immeasurably in communicating the true vibe of the company to the public.
Recent openings included Tokyo and Copenhagen but new plans are underway for many new cities.
"Diesel is a state of mind: it means being open to new things, listening to one's intuition and being honest with oneself. We would like to offer consumers a total look which reflects this attitude"
Diesel has grown from a simple jeans and clothing company to a major fashion brand, offering the maximum of creativity and innovation. Licenses are a natural way to expand the offering to the final customer. Diesel's licensed products are 100% Diesel: they represent accurately the ethos, design and spirit of the company.
Present license agreements include: Eyewear (an extensive collection of glasses by Safilo, Italy), Footwear (by Global Brand Marketing, U.S.A.), Fragrances and Cosmetics (featuring two different scents, "Diesel Plus Plus" and "Zero Plus" by Marbert, Germany), Luggage and Small Leather Goods (by Principe, Italy) and Watches (produced and distributed by Fossil, U.S.A.).
"Only a fashion company could create such a 'Haute Couture' hotel"
THE PELICAN HOTEL
It's the perfect South Beach expression of the company's vibe: quirky, state-of-the-art, paradoxical, extravagant, kitsch and nonsensical. All 28 rooms in this Fifties' hotel are designed and decorated to feel like surreal movie sets: each is filled with recycled furniture and objects, and named after its own style. Examples include: the Psychedelic Room, made with plastic furniture and posters from the 70's; the African Room, with a triumph of zebra stripes furnished in old safari style; the Stars and Stripes room, a tribute to the American flag. Other favorites include the Best Whorehouse, Halfway to Hollywood, Me Tarzan, You Vain, and three executive oceanfront suites featuring the styles of the 30's, 50's and 60's. Those who are familiar with the intentional visual ironies of Diesel will not be surprised by the Pelican's design oddities: a definitively unusual place suited to the coolest!
"When advertising is at its best, it understands and expresses the inner feelings associated with the product and the company"
The now famous Diesel advertising campaigns started in 1991 and ever since have been characterized by a single creative execution run in every market of the world, helping the company become truly global. As it was in the beginning, all of this is developed by bringing together the work of Diesel's internal Creative Team and external advertising agencies. The Creative Team is a small group of people with creative and marketing functions within the company: it is their creativity and knowledge of the brand values, together with the executional skills of advertising agencies, that guarantee that all Diesel communications stay true to the company's particular identity.
Diesel appropriated the "consumer products make better living" theme (so beloved by advertisers from the 50s onwards) and translated into the "DIESEL - FOR SUCCESSFUL LIVING" campaigns. Diesel images of consumer paradise must however be interpreted very ironically: the standard promise of "success" found in most advertising is exaggerated and made absurd. Serious themes seem to be lurking everywhere in the advertising, but any suggestion of worthiness is undercut by a final admission that it's all just a joke.
This "FOR SUCCESSFUL LIVING" concept has not only been understood and appreciated by the public but also by the advertising establishment (which was initially very skeptical about this approach). So far Diesel advertising has been awarded by the Cannes Film Festival in 1995, '96 and '97 (Grand Prix in the film category, Golden Prize in the print category and the "Advertiser of the Year" award in 1998), by Eurobest (Top Award in '94, Grand Prix for print campaigns in '95, '96 and '97), by Epica ('97 Golden Prizes both for print campaigns and TV commercial), to name just a few.
The real showcase for the broader range of Diesel collections have been the various eclectic catalogues produced, in which the product often serves only as illustrative, incidental content. These publications have been celebrated over the years for their radical approach, every edition representing a significant evolution in graphical and photographic technique. New Diesel catalogues feature the product a bit more prominently (a concession to the expansion of the company's range and growing customer base), but still maintain an edgy creativity and high artistic standards.
Diesel is also globally recognized in communication circles for its progressive interactive media activities. Diesel was one of the first companies to have a major presence on the Internet (www.diesel.com) - opening its site in 1995. Today the site contains information about all Diesel clothing collections, as well as its licensed products, plus a complete archive of all Diesel advertising. Members of the Diesel Club receive new information, exclusive previews and regular updates via email.
Diesel first entered the world of e-commerce in 1997, selling jeans online in Finland and Sweden. In 1998 Diesel opened the Internet-based 'Virtual Store' for home delivery of products to customers in selected markets. The 'Virtual Store' is currently undergoing expansion to extend online sales to completely cover Europe and USA by the end of the year 2000.
Through the creative use of new media, communication is no longer a one way message, but a complex and entertaining dialogue between Diesel and its customers, enabling active participation and interaction with the brand. Diesel has achieved much recognition and collected many awards in this area, including: 1999 - BIMA (British Interactive Media Awards), Winner - Virtual Store; Design Council's Design Effectiveness Awards, Winner - Virtual Store and email marketing database; Design Week Magazine Awards, Multimedia Graphics, Finalist - Virtual Store; 2000 - Design Week Magazine Awards, Site award 55DSL.
Beyond the Internet, Diesel's new media activities stretch into many different areas. The company has produced award-winning CD-ROMs, such as "Digital Adrenaline - 55DSL", a game-and-music filled CD-ROM in support of the 55DSL line. Additionally, Diesel has begun to make a big splash in the world of video games, contributing its logo and creative content to new video game releases, such as Psygnosis' hits, "G-Police I and II", Acclaim's "Shadowman" and "Extreme G II". To be launched in September and October 2000 respectively are Sega's "55DSL Xtreme Sports" for the Sega Dreamcast and Infogrames and Reflections Studio's 'Driver 2' the most anticipated game of the year for the Playstation.
"Behind the world's most distinctive brands, those which display a unique or even eccentric character and vision, there is usually a singularly driven individual"
RENZO ROSSO, THE MAN BEHIND DIESEL
In the case of Diesel, the individual who has powered the company's growth is Renzo Rosso. Born in 1955 in the north-east of Italy, he attended an industrial textile manufacturing school and after graduating in 1975, began making his own clothing. In 1978 he joined forces with several other manufactures in his region to form the Genius Group, which created many successful brands still widely known today, such as Katherine Hamnett, Goldie, Martin Guy, Goldie, Ten Big Boys and, of course, Diesel. In 1985 Renzo took complete control of Diesel by buying out the other partners and becoming the sole force behind the brand. Thereafter the company began a period of remarkable growth and expansion.
It was thus that, in 1996, Renzo Rosso and Diesel received the "Premio Risultati" award from the prestigious Bocconi Institute in Milan for being the "Best Italian Company of the Year". Renzo was also nominated by American Ernst & Young as "Entrepreneur of the Year" for 1997 for the company's strong moves in the U.S. In December 1997, the English music and trend magazine "Select" included Renzo in a special classification of the 100 most important people in the world who will contribute to the shape of the new Millennium.
Renzo is an idealistic, passionate man whose motto is "Diesel is not my company, it's my life".