It’s no secret that counterfeit clothing runs rampant around the globe. So Diesel CEO Renzo Rosso, as part of the brand’s ongoing “Go With the Flaw” campaign, decided to take matters into his own hands.
Playing into the modern viewpoint of logos as wearable status symbols, he created his own knockoff, DEISEL, and opened a very real pop-up store on the corner of Broadway and Canal Street in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood—a street corner synonymous with knockoff shops.
“We’re thinking why we cannot take and work with this irony?” He asks. “We can create from a problem maybe we can create something good.”
The store quietly opened and enlisted people to lure unsuspecting shoppers in, filming them for a video that would be part of its “GO WITH THE FAKE” campaign, calling into question the quality of clothes people buy as opposed to the perceived brand value.
Often, the only thing different from the bona fide Diesel product was just the tag, but there were also plenty of products on offer that were one-off pieces created from genuine Diesel products. This included patchwork bomber jackets and other mixed pieces with a distressed appeal. But of course, one of the biggest sellers were the bootleg logo tees, hoodies, and caps.
“It’s a particular moment for the logo,” explains Rosso. “We were in it to do something closer to the new consumer, something cool, something exclusive.”
The genuine clothes were being sold at knockoff prices, around $60 for hoodies and $20 for T-shirts. As word got out, lines began to snake around the block, with the brand estimating around 1,000 people coming through the shop on Friday. The store will remain open for the next few days, replenishing its already-limited stock while supplies last. Though Rosso is also surprised that eager resellers are already flipping “DEISEL” product on sites like eBay for $500.
Celebrities even attended yesterday’s pop-up, like model Coco Rocha and Highsnobiety Magazine cover star Gucci Mane. The Atlanta artist is a friend of one of Rosso’s sons, who lives in New York. But Rosso stresses that he’s already been a proponent of the (real) Diesel brand for a while.
“When you are working with someone that is a fan, it’s different than just you working with someone that you just have to work with. I am very proud, very happy to have met him,” he says.
The DEISEL pop-up will remain open at 419 Broadway for the next few days, with select pieces (if there are any left) going up on diesel.com on February 13.
Now take a look at the very real problem of counterfeit culture by watching our documentary in Seoul.
- Photography: Thomas Welch