G-Star Raw’s Aitor Throup looks like a skater dude and talks like an anthropology professor. The executive creative director throws out phrases like “the great unlearning” while fidgeting with a neon baseball hat. He’s won prestigious fellowships and directed music videos for Kasabian. Oh, did we mention he made the District 13 uniforms for The Hunger Games?
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This steady streak of success might require some Type A discipline, but Throup is actually pretty funny—calling my interview questions “super personal, like third date questions!”—and walking us through his first-ever womenswear collection for G-Star Raw Research.
“I’m obsessively interested in design principles like ergonomics, 3-D design frames, and holistic construction, and those ideas are as relevant for men as for women. So why are words like utility, function, multi-purpose—why are those words only used for menswear? Functionality isn’t masculine,” he insists. “It’s just cool.”
Also cool: many pieces from his maiden collection, including coil-stitched pants, acid orange jackets, and raw ivory denim so fine and soft that it mimics parachute material. “I’m in love with this one, because when we think of raw denim, we think it has to be heavy, stiff, and really deep blue. But that’s a mind map that we have to destroy. Denim’s actually a fabric. That fabric is 3×1 twill made from cotton. And beyond that, it’s up to you.
“We have to unlearn denim the same way we can unlearn certain kinds of language,” he continues. “You forget how you learned to speak—you just know how to do it. But certain archetypes are really more like stereotypes, both in the way we talk and the way we dress. The language of design, just like, for example, the language of gender, can be really limiting if you don’t question it.”
I tell him that’s a lot of feminist theory to load into 10 pieces of 3×1 twill. “I guess,” he laughs, “but I’m way more into the ideas and discussions that go into the clothes than what anyone wants to wear. The denim is a vehicle for greater change.”
It’s also a vehicle for elevated basics that make your wardrobe (and your butt) look tighter—and that’s a worthy goal, too.