Highsnobiety / The Bardos

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During a long year of lockdowns in Paris, Y/Project creative director Glenn Martens and his team turned back to basics — though not the kind of basics you’re thinking of. “We decided to get back to the essence of Y/Project,” Martens told me over Zoom this spring. “People fell in love with us because we were proposing something completely absurd. I’ve embraced that and now we’re pushing it further.”

“Basic” probably isn’t something you’d associate with the brand. Since taking the helm in 2013 — Y/Project was originally founded in 2010 — Martens has stretched the outer limits of luxury fashion. From asymmetrically unzipped denim to T-shirts that make you look half-dressed, Y/Project clothes are engineered for double takes. “For us, it is not about always making the most beautiful garment,” Martens explains. “It’s really about pushing things and becoming more radical.”

The individuals pictured here aren’t just Y/Project employees but a circle of creative friends who make up the brand’s creative universe. Whether they’re a dance director who outfits their dancers in Y/Project, or designers working on their own brands, Martens sees very little difference. The word “community” is overused in fashion. For Y/Project, a brand whose ethos is built on experimentation, a polyphony of voices is key. And whether you’re a friend, or simply a wearer of the brand, you’re invited to the club. As the stylist, collaborator, and close friend of Martens, Robbie Spencer (not pictured due to travel restrictions), puts it: “When you wear Y/Project, you’re part of a collective of like-minded people. You either get it or you don’t.”

Stéphanie D’heygere Jewelry Designer

“I like the weirdness of it, nothing is simple. Glenn is a real designer. He’s never just gonna put a logo on a T-shirt.”

Dean Quinn Design Consultant

“The brand is personal for everyone that works here. The creative freedom and the way Glenn collaborates with us all is liberating.”

Ella Asderban Designer

“I don't see a difference between working for Y/Project and working for myself. I don’t feel I need to adapt to an aesthetic that isn’t mine because the brand addresses so many different types of people in today’s society.”

Franck Carry Art Director Assistant

“Y/Project is all about giving a twist to a garment. To propose different ways to button, to style, to pull-up — it’s not just buying a shirt and wearing it as it is. You are including yourself and your personality in the piece by styling it your own way.”

Marine Brutti, Jonathan Debrouwer, Arthur Harel Artistic Directors, LA HORDE Dance Company

“You can explore thousands of personalities in the diversity of clothing that Y/Project proposes, but still feel like you belong to a coherent vision.”

Florent Faurie Co-Founder, ADULTE ADULTE Creative Studio

“Glenn’s inputs are always interesting and just open enough for you to add your ingredient to the recipe. Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but it’s always good to feel that your contribution has a value for him.”

Annabel Fernandes Creative Consultant

“There’s always a twist to the clothes, sometimes quite literally. There’s a language to the way you wear it. With a little labor of love, you can transform the garment and what you want to say.”

Émilie Meldem Designer

“[Y/Project has] a convincing relevance in terms of design, creativity, and image.”

Grégoire Dyer Collaborator

“Because Glenn is so faithful to his team, you feel you have a responsibility to come up with the best ideas you can, and do it the best you can.”

Senjan Jansen Collaborator

“The garments always come with a twist, often quite literally. Y/Project is an excellent reminder there is no need to be so serious all the time.”

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