LONDON — G-Star Raw has named Aitor Throup as executive creative director of the men’s and women’s mainline ranges and RAW Research, a men’s line, WWD has learned.
Throup will report to chief executive officer and founder Jos van Tilburg. He will start on Nov. 1. The London-based designer will relocate to Amsterdam, where the brand is based. The role is a new one and Throup will encompass Pierre Morriset’s role, who has been with the brand for 27 years. Morriset will continue to collaborate with the brand on collection development and will take on a mentorship role for the design department.
Throup has worked as a creative consultant for the Dutch denim brand since 2013. The label, which set up an innovation lab within its Amsterdam headquarters last year, appointed Throup to lead the team.
With the new appointment, Throup said he doesn’t feel like he is “taking over” the helm of the label, and refers to designing products as “a collaborative process.”
“It’s more like an evolution of my involvement with them,” Throup said. “There’s so many amazing people involved in so many incredible teams, all involved in creating this one thing. I guess I do feel a sense of responsibility, and I’m incredibly happy to have this opportunity. For me the most exciting thing is that there’s never been this role at the company, so there’s a lot of incredible people doing incredible things in each department, but to have the opportunity to help align all of those and bring a sort of perspective, to help all of them be as strong as possible by having the same variation, it’s very exciting.”
“I genuinely believe in the brand’s manifesto to become the definitive denim brand of the 21st century so I just want to facilitate that through a really focused vision and commitment to innovation, but not only innovation, also doing things in a different way because we can. We’re not complacent. We’re not stuck in the way that things should be done. My vision is to continue that commitment and to drive product forward.”
Under Throup, the designer took his cue from how his own studio operates and implemented a “shared ownership of the product” concept.
“There’s definitely a lot of opportunities to find optimal ways to develop and create product,” Throup said. “In the past year or so, I’ve been directing a small team with which we developed the capsule collection Raw Research, and within that team I changed our internal approach to design and development of product, actually to mirror my own studio in that everybody involved in the design and development process actually sits together.”
“There’s no separation between design and machine, product, development, etc.,” Throup added. “So there’s a shared ownership of the product, which I really believe in. It has worked incredibly well, to the point that every single person involved feels equally responsible for the product once it arrives from wherever it’s been actually manufactured. And that cross-departmental integration is something that I’m already looking into extending for my other brand.”
As a consultant, the Buenos Aires-born and Burnley, England-raised 36-year old has worked on a number of projects and clothing ranges for the company. This includes his first collection under G-Star RAW Research — a 20-piece an experimental men’s wear capsule which included outerwear and trousers — shown during Paris Men’s Fashion Week last June.
His next collection for the company will be released in Paris during men’s collections in January. In addition, he created the concept of the brand’s flagship in London, directed the “What Is Raw?” advertising campaign, and designed the 3-D denim Staq pants.
Throup completed his bachelor’s in fashion design at Manchester Metropolitan University before earning his master’s in men’s wear from the Royal College of Art in 2006. An artist, designer and a creative director, his design house A.T. Studio develops his conceptual men’s label New Object Research, which debuted on the London Fashion Week: Men’s calendar earlier this year.
Throup will continue to run his men’s label alongside his role at G-Star. “I’m fully committed to G-Star, so at least for this initial period I’m choosing to really have G-Star as our primary project,” Throup said. “But also at the same time continuing my own men’s wear brand in our own way. So we’re continuing the development of that as well.”
Throup has worked for brands including Stone Island and C.P. Company. He was the creative director of British rock band Kasabian and worked with Umbro on a number of projects, including England’s football kits for the World Cup.
According to the brand, the designer shares the same “design ethos that is rooted in innovation and identified by 3-D construction.”
G-Star chief marketing officer Thecla Schaeffer said of the appointment: “We’re proud to welcome Aitor as our creative director. Since 2013, Throup has been collaborating with us on a range of projects and collections so this step feels as a natural evolution. Both G-Star and Aitor share a design ethos rooted in innovation and identified by 3-D construction. As creative director, Throup will creatively lead a variety of strategic G-Star projects spanning both men’s wear and women’s wear, with the ultimate aim of globally aligning G-Star’s continuing ethos of denim innovation.”
Launched in 1989, G-Star Raw designs men’s and women’s premium denim and is headquartered in the Netherlands. The brand has more than 60,000 points of sale globally in 70 countries — 500 of which are monobrand stores — with flagships in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Amsterdam. It is sold at retailers including Asos, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s.
Earlier this year, Pharrell Williams became co-owner of the brand and bought back Iconix Brands Group Inc.’s 50 percent interest in BBC Ice Cream LLC, owner of the Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream streetwear brands.