In 1989 Claudia Schiffer posed for photographer Ellen von Unwerth in a lacy bra, a side-tied neckerchief, a western-buckled belt and, most notably of all, a pair of blue, mid-rise, button-fly GUESS jeans. The images, that romanced a Brigitte Bardot memory via back-combed blonde hair and smokey, winged eyeliner, turned out to be fashionably prophetic. They burst open a sexy new world for the ubiquitous cotton staple, the hardy weave that had foremost been a sensible, earnest utilitarian.
Today, the form-fitting silhouette of original GUESS denim remains as desirable as ever. The gentle classicism its rinsey hues evoke, be it through jeans or cropped jackets or seamed bustiers, make it a sartorial safe bet. However, with the turning tide of this decade’s conscious revolution, denim at its core is, once again, on course for change. The rebirth this time comes via a viscerally subtle movement. It’s not the cut, nor the shape that’s fastening its futurism, rather revelation is in the minutiae of its very fibre. It’s revving an undercurrent that might be its most powerful and important yet.
Science and fashion are meeting at a most auspicious moment in time. Working together to develop brand new blends that will, quite literally, shape the future of the industry. Looking to technological advances in both processing as well as ingredient experimentation are governing a growing strength. GUESS is leading the way when it comes to actively incorporating these neo-fibres into their collections. Materials that are sustainably sourced and focus on reduced consumption and regenerated matter are igniting the sartorial zeitgeist, and this latest capsule, aptly named SMART GUESS, is certification of both its possibility and its success.
Using brands like Lenzing that produces soft, wearable denims from renewable, natural wood, Orta Blu that creates clean, organic indigo dying methods and EIM that works with the hardy eco-friendly natural hemp fibre, GUESS is reimagining their classic pieces from the ground up. In addition, it is also working with Repreve, a renegade recycling company that garners a practical use for discarded plastic bottles. So far, they have recycled over 25 billion, repurposing them into various commodities, one of which is a comfortable, malleable fabric fibre.
Environmental issues have plagued the fashion industry in extreme ways over the past few years, with everything from water usage, to landfill, to carbon emissions reportedly over-consumed. GUESS has committed to changing the path forward, setting a precedent for how fashion should be now and in the future. They have set stringent ecological goals that iterate the importance of responsibility, change and action.
GUESS denim owns a kind of vintage superiority. Its archetype offers a permanent style status yet it’s one that is still able to meander the seasons, ebbing and flowing with detailed trend. This collection is a perfect example. There’s the form-fitting, deep-blue denim boiler suit that zips to a buttoned crew-neck and quantifies the qualities of a new-age Bond girl. There’s the light-wash pencil dress that doses up on early 2000s and curates a casual quality with the layering of a contrasted hoodie.
Then there’s the high-rise, double-button fly denim jeans in a dark rinse that partners perfectly with the pin-tucked logo tee. And there’s the vintage-blue, slim-leg stovepipes that, when paired with the season’s uber look – the corset bustier – evokes an immediate homage to the catalogue of Claudia Schiffer some 32 years ago.
Perhaps most magical is the returned adoration for the four-fly denim jean. Ensembled with a stretch turtleneck that cuts open at the décolletage, this shape and character is sensationally pre-millennia. Yet, it is only the image that remains bygone. The pieces, all manufactured from specialist fibres, as well as some born again from repurposed vintage denims, are in fact spectacularly futuristic. That she is wearing what could be a bucket full of recycled plastic bottles rather than a non-specific cotton that once seemed innocuous, could be saving the earth from hundreds of litres of irrigation, C02 emissions and destitute landfill.
The SMART GUESS denim muse is welcoming a woken era. She is someone conscious of her future and seeking ways to better it. The eighties and nineties were simpler times, but in reality it was an ignorant simplicity, when we didn’t know the harms of modern consumables and exponentially created the damage. Today, we know. We’re privy to ecological impact statements, to the world of biodegradables and the gargantuan change we need to make. Finally, it’s fashionable to reduce and repurpose.
GUESS has been pioneering denim in its many forms for over three decades and is bringing fortune to the fibre once again. This time through the window of a sustainable future. Still just as sexy, still as iconic, but now motivated by something that unites us all.