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Highsnobiety / Julien Tell

We’ve only got two options: a sustainable future, or no future at all. DIESEL is choosing to bet on the former, launching their new sustainable fashion project, DIESEL UPCYCLING FOR, which will see a new capsule collection by a new designer with one restriction: no new garments.

Last Saturday during Milan Fashion Week, DIESEL hosted an in-store launch party for their first collection, DIESEL UPCYCLING FOR 55DSL, which was headed by Andrea Rosso, DIESEL Sustainability Ambassador and Upcycling Artistic Director, Creative director of Diesel Licenses and of MYAR. He was also the mastermind behind the project. As former creative director of 55DSL, Rosso took deadstock from the DIESEL and 55DSL archives and stitched them together to create new garments for the new capsule collection.

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Highsnobiety / Julien Tell
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Highsnobiety / Julien Tell

“Upcycling for me is just like cleaning your room,” Rosso told us. “Once you clean your house maybe you’ll find some object from two years ago that you lost, or forgot you had. Then you bring it back to life and it becomes new again. It doesn't matter how old it is, it matters how you bring it back to life.”

At the entrance to the store was a live demonstration of seamstresses working at sewing machines, creating a new garment every twenty minutes. As part of the project’s MO of transparency, each garment comes with a QR code which customers can scan, leading them to a landing page with details about the garment’s construction, as well as the manufacturing processes used.

Talking with Rosso, you get the sense that his design approach is as much about sustainability as deconstructing familiar menswear staples and recombining them in what was a political as well as an aesthetic statement.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, we don’t have so much of the stock of 55, so we mostly just found the camouflage pants. We interpreted that with five pocket denim, which is very, very nice,” said Rosso. “Then once we did the hood—which comes from street wear—the hood is always very important with the sweatshirt. So we put the hood inside the neck of the jacket. We colored the denim with different mineral pigments because, under the umbrella of upcycling, we also are certifying all the processes and the products that we make.” Then he added, “Nothing is created new. We just use whatever is available, whatever already exists.”

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Highsnobiety / Julien Tell
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Highsnobiety / Julien Tell
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Highsnobiety / Julien Tell

The theme of upcycling extended to the party’s musical performances as well. Upstairs, guests enjoyed a live performance by Bamboo, a drum and percussion group, who also soundtracked the campaign video, sampling sounds from sewing machines, linen machines, and steamers. Kimmy Beatbox also gave a show-stopping beatboxing performance outside, amongst the sounds of the actual sewing machines.

When asked about who the upcoming upcoming collaborations would be with, Andrea coyly teased, “a German designer” with “very good construction.” (The announcement will happen in September.)

Peep the photos and videos from the event, and check back here for more information on upcoming projects.

DIESEL UPCYCLING FOR 55DSL is available now on diesel.com.

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