Posing the question “What Is Raw?” the G-Star Raw fall campaign’s central theme focuses on the people behind the label, the craft and the workspaces.
The advertising campaign was shot by the brand’s in-house photography team at the label’s Amsterdam headquarters. It features a range of employees from the service desk to apparel designers and co-owner and head of imagination, Pharrell Williams. The company dubs the imagery the Raw Family Portrait to “emphasize the brand’s belief in equality and team effort.”
“The campaign tells the story of what exists beneath the surface of the brand itself: the people who make it, their craft and the spaces they occupy,“ G-Star chief marketing officer Thecla Schaeffer told WWD. “This season we wanted to expand the conversation: to share the context behind our product. The campaign, from the Raw Family Portrait and print imagery, all aim to discuss the meaning of Raw. Not only to offer up the meaning of Raw from the perspective of G-Star, but to open it up to our consumers: to invite them to think about what Raw means to them.
“By inviting our consumers to be a part of the conversation of what Raw means to them, we wanted to [create a more emotional connection with our audience],” Schaeffer added. “The message of this campaign is not to tell the consumer what the explicit meaning raw actually is, but to show Raw through examples and let our audience decide for themselves what Raw means to them.”
Alongside the family portrait, the brand will feature a series of films that will reveal the design process at the brand’s offices in Amsterdam. The 30-second digital short films will highlight the engineering process, 3-D denim creation and sustainable innovation. The short campaign video was directed by Sing J. Lee and shows footage of staff members at work and features Williams discussing the meaning of Raw.
Inspiration for the campaign was sparked after an open house tour the brand and Williams hosted for guests such as rapper A$AP Rocky and R&B singer Miguel. The tour included a visit to the label’s archives of vintage pieces, product development units and the brand’s denim atelier.
“After the success and the enthusiastic response we got on the Raw Factory, we knew that we had to give a follow-up to this,” Schaeffer said. “We started playing with the idea to open up our doors to a bigger audience to show them what G-Star is all about: the brand’s product engineering process, obsession with 3-D-denim construction, commitment to sustainable innovation and more. G-Star is a brand that is used to expressing itself through its products and design projects, but we have noticed that people are interested to connect to the people who make the products; they like to understand the philosophy behind them. In this campaign, the real people are the heroes, very much the vision of Pharrell that what we do is a collaborative team effort. We’re excited that now after working on the campaign for months, a bigger audience is about to go on that same journey through the Raw Factory.”
The campaign will run on the brand’s web site on Thursday. It will be featured in the October and November issues of Vogue, W Magazine, GQ, i-D and Dazed, which hit newsstands in September and October.
“Like Pharrell Williams explains in our campaign film: Raw is not a noun, Raw is a verb. The real meaning of raw is a personal sentiment that cannot be explained, it has to be felt to be understood,” Schaeffer added. “Raw is what is underneath. Raw denim is the purest form of denim, untreated and unwashed, that when worn over time takes on the true character of the wearer. Like raw denim, raw for us is about being pure and real. That is why we open up in this campaign to show the pure real character of the brand and the real people who make up the company.”
In terms of future projects, Schaeffer noted that the brand plans to “continue to innovate by allowing Pharrell to push the boundaries even further across all aspects of business” and to keep “exploring the unlimited possibilities of denim.”
“As an artist these are the things you dream of,” Williams said. “I want some 12-year-old to see us and go ‘If these guys are doing things like this, I can do that one day, or I can start a brand like G-Star.’ That’s the point, we are just trying to do things that lead by example, and not by talking. It’s what someone does, that’s what makes history, words are cool, but actions are powerful.”