The Italian streetwear maverick joins the quintessentially British brand for a new collaboration.
Since its genesis in 2015, the Italian streetwear brand GCDS has without a doubt become synonymous with eclecticism. Venturing into streetwear, accessories, and shoes – GCDS’ eye-catching patterns and provocative colours draw you in; they have a magnetism that makes you want to keep looking. Especially in this day and age, where attention is a form of currency – it’s no easy feat to keep us consistently hooked.
GCDS’ latest collaboration is with the quintessentially British Clarks – and the resulting collection is an intriguing range of loafers and mules, with attention-grabbing patterns and prints. The creative visionary behind the collab, and one of the fire-starters behind GCDS is Giuliano Calza; we had the pleasure of picking his brains in an illuminating interview. While some believe that creativity is an innate skill, others are of the opinion that it is a muscle to be trained. Luckily, we were able to gain some insight into Calza’s artistic process – and we hope that some of his creative genius rubs off on us.
Congrats on the collaboration, the shoes are amazing!
I always thought of Clarks as classic, preppy shoes and I really wanted to give a twist to this collaboration. I wanted to create something where you’re part of a club, to give preppy shoes a kink.
As an Italian, how did you find working with such a quintessentially British brand?
I loved it, I love British culture, everything here is iconic! For me, the idea of having the shoe that you usually go to school in, the uniform that we don’t have in Italy, is such a kink. Shoes can be a real twist to your look, you can dress horribly but you put your shoes on and then you’re like ‘oh, I love it, I feel myself’.
How did you approach balancing old styles with a new streetwear edge?
I wanted to create something where people aren’t going to get intimated. If you’re part of the GCDS crowd, you’re cool, you’re 15 or 20 years old but I want someone to step into these stores at 70s years old and say ‘oh I want the animal or the leopard shoes’. There’s so much disconnection between us, the young generation and the world outside, I wanted to make a shoe that everyone can step into.
Do you achieve that unity through the androgynous edge?
I buy a lot of clothes that are for women. I never think of giving adjectives to things because it has to be your choice but if you think this is an androgynous choice, go for it. I’ve put so many labels on myself, for once with this collaboration I was free from the hype and free to do something that could be fun for everyone.
It can be hard to escape the idea of fast fashion and micro trends at the moment, was it important to you to build something timeless?
People want to have things that are going to last and they want to have connections to them. I have my favourite things and I want them to stay with me, I have my lucky pants. With GCDS, I’m choosing things that are sustainable not in terms of how long am I going to be willing to use this. Of course, Clarks have the heritage and the know-how and I can bring the fun.
It seems like there is a move towards “less is more” approach to dressing. Do you agree?
Personally, a couple of years ago I was tired of having so many things but everything looked like trash. I think people are experiencing new things, androgyny is not a new thing but in a way, it represents a new moment where I can have my favourite leather jacket and I can put it with the poshest dress. I think we are becoming more conscious that life isn’t online,it’s how you feel in your clothes. I think that our generation can be the one that switches the idea of fast, need-it-now fashion.
Do you have any pieces you keep coming back to – a sort of uniform?
Always shorts, I have to be half naked all the time!
Lastly, is there anything you think Italians can teach Brits about style?
They are both rich cultures but there are two completely different approaches. Italians are more strict with their rules whereas the British are more open and crazy. I think we can learn a lot from you about hat making because you make beautiful hats for weddings. Italians do less extravagant prepping, we do more chic classics whereas you do big colours and colours – we can learn from the English to turn it up and you can learn to turn it down a bit.
Step into Calza’s eclectic world at Clarks.co.uk