Diesel’s Glenn Martens is rewriting the rules of mainstream fashion

Yesterday, around 5,000 people attended Diesel’s SS23 show in Milan, which was held at an indoor stadium and was open to the public. Looking at the crowd that snapped up every available ticket in less than 90 minutes upon release, you’d think Diesel had somehow pulled off the most ambitious brand-clad scheme in fashion week history: hundreds, if not thousands, of attendees wore Diesel — some in creative director Glenn Martens’ widely praised debut collections, others in vintage leather jackets and tiny logo tees.

The reality, of course, was much simpler: only a few people, like Julia Fox, Evan Mock, Skepta, Normani and Lil Dre, were in shape for the occasion. The rest of the crowd, which included about 1,600 fashion students, had gone out and bought it themselves. “The idea is always to be an alternative to luxury and to be a democratic brand,” Martens said after the show, only his second since taking the helm of the rebel Italian denim export at the end of 2020. (He also serves as creative director. Y/Project.) As Fox surveyed the scene backstage, where fresh-faced models and young supporters hugged and applauded, he summed up how wildly successful Martens has been: “I feel like Diesel really speaks to young people, kids ,” Fox said. “We like to see that.”