G-Star RAW and artist Maarten Baas refashion denim waste into design and art pieces at Milan Design Week
‘More or Less’ exhibition spotlights the endless possibilities of denim and the tension between the desire for more but the need for less.
Denim brand G-Star RAW and leading artist and designer Maarten Baas have teamed up to create a series of thought-provoking designs and art pieces made from denim waste. Set to be unveiled during Milan Design Week, the ‘More or Less’ exhibition explores one of the fundamental predicaments of our time: the tension and duality between the desire for more – and the need for less. The exhibition showcases a triptych of cabinets in the shape of jeans and a fifteen- meter long private jet – all made using recycled G-Star jeans.
The art of (denim) waste
Maarten Baas is regarded as one of the most important designers of the 21st century, with a track record for surprising and intriguing the public. He was the obvious choice as a creative partner for a project exploring the boundaries of denim design. G-Star approached Baas with a brief to create a series of art and design pieces from a new textile board material derived from recycled denim.
The result is a triptych of cabinets that are both playful and functional. As well as being made from denim, and resembling a pair of jeans, the furniture can also be used to store pairs of jeans (and other denim items). All three cabinets are made of textile board material created from recycled G-Star jeans, specially developed by Danish textile innovators Really / Kvadrat. The jeans were collected from G-Star stores across Europe via the ‘Return your Denim’ program which allows customers to return their old jeans for recycling. During the exhibition, visitors can also bring their worn garments to screenprint with the signature message ‘More or Less’.
“At G-Star we believe that there is no limit to what denim can do. In this case we’re spotlighting what our denim waste can become, and how we can change waste material into something meaningful that stands out – and that makes you wonder and think. Because we all want more, but our planet needs less. That uncomfortable reality we all deal with. Yes, we are constantly aiming to reduce our impact on people and the planet, but at the same time we realise we encourage consumption as well. That symbolises the balancing act of being both a responsible and a successful business at the same time.” says Gwenda van Vliet, CMO G-Star RAW.
More or Less?
The ‘More or Less’ exhibition will be housed in the 17th century church of San Paolo Converso, providing a stunning and unexpected backdrop to the provocative designs. The show demonstrates new and creative possibilities in recycling, and is set to spark contemplation and discussion around the duality of the desire for more in these current times.
While designing the initial idea of the cabinets earlier this year, a second design concept arose in Baas’ mind: an imposing fifteen-meter jet that, like the cabinets, was built using waste denim – and which is likely to provoke reactions. Not only for its massive scale, but for the bold statement it makes about the duality of sustainability issues.
“Every year in Milan I witness the tragicomic dialogue between green design and mass consumption. When G-Star approached me to collaborate, it was the perfect opportunity to focus on this relevant dilemma. After all, we are all part of the same puzzle: we enjoy our prosecco next to this private jet made from recycled materials. We are not saving the world, but are we contributing to an improvement? More or less…”, says Maarten Baas.
The G-Star RAW x Maarten Baas collaboration launches on April 17, 2023, during Milan Design Week.
‘More or Less’ is open to the public from 18 to 23 April from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Chiesa San Paolo Converso, Piazza Sant’Eufemia 1, Milan. The entrance is free.
The cabinets, which are available to purchase, are made to order, with price and delivery time available on request. The Denim Waste Plane will become part of the G-Star RAW art collection.
About G-Star RAW
G-Star RAW (1989) looks at denim differently. It’s not a fabric. It represents art. The ‘Art of Denim’ is the philosophy behind a relentless pursuit to push boundaries. It inspires their craftmanship and approach to denim. Always taking it to another level. It pushes us all to think like artists. Striving for creativity, authenticity, and following our own paths. The world of art and culture takes G-Star beyond the realm of fashion. It gives them a unique position in the denim landscape where they see no limits. Turning denim into a force of progress that respects people and the planet.
About Maarten Baas
Maarten Baas’s (1978) international recognition arrived with Smoke, his graduation project at the Eindhoven Design Academy. The collections Clay and Real Time consolidated his name and position as an artist making functional objects embracing a practice that is unconventional, rebellious, and playful. He has established an independent position in the field with a multidisciplinary body of work including product and interior design, architecture, public art, limited editions, performance, and art. His work is found in numerous private and major museum collections, including the MOMA, Victoria & Albert Museum, and Rijksmuseum, among others. With a generous dose of deception and humor, his exhibitions often conceal surprising messages directed at all audiences.
About Really / Kvadrat
Really / Kvadrat is partly owned by the Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat. Kvadrat upcycles end-of-life textiles into high-quality materials suitable for interior projects. The materials are produced in Denmark.
The recycled denim board material used in the art objects in the ‘More of Less’ exhibition is made from old G-Star jeans collected from G-Star stores in Europe, where consumers can return worn jeans through the ‘Return your Denim’ program. The material is made up of 70% cotton with 30% being a bio binder, the most environmentally friendly binder available.
About G-Star’s repair, reuse, and recycle initiatives
Launch second-hand platform: In July 2023 G-Star is launching their second-hand platform, where customers can trade their pre-loved items at g-star.com
Certified Tailors: After a successful pilot phase in the Netherlands, G-Star is scaling up the Certified Tailors program. Now, offering free repairs to extend the life of your jeans at more tailors in The Netherlands, as well as in Germany, Belgium, and South Africa. Global expansion is planned for the upcoming years.
Return Your Denim: Is your garment beyond repair? Hand it in at G-Star stores in Europe and they’ll make sure it is properly recycled. For example into new G-Star jeans or denim art objects.
The Art of RAW: A new art platform launched in 2022 where international design talents – from interior designers to glass artists – are challenged to work with denim waste and dead stock. Old denim is transformed into one-of-a-kind art pieces, creating awareness for circularity.
Goal 2030: To ensure the scalability of these circular efforts G-Star commits to 1.000.000 G-Star jeans to be reused, repaired, or recycled by 2030.
The 17th-century church of San Paolo Converso in Milan.