In a long year of lockdown in Paris, Y / Project Creative Director Glenn Martens and his team have gone back to basics, but not the grassroots kind you think of. “We decided to go back to the essence of Y / Project,” Martens told me on Zoom this spring. “People fell in love with us because we came up with something completely absurd. I have adopted this and now we are going further.
“Basic” is probably not something you associate with branding. Since taking the helm in 2013 – Y / Project was originally founded in 2010 – Martens has pushed the boundaries of luxury fashion. From asymmetric denim without a zipper to t-shirts that make you look half-dressed, Y / Project garments are designed for a double take. “For us, it’s not always about making the best looking garment,” says Martens. “It’s really about pushing things and getting more radical.”
The individuals represented here are not just Y / Project employees but a circle of creative friends who make up the brand’s creative universe. Whether it’s a dance director who dresses his dancers in Y / Project, or designers working on their own brands, Martens sees very little difference. The word “community” is overused in fashion. For Y / Project, a brand whose philosophy is based on experimentation, a polyphony of voices is the key. And whether you are a friend, or just a brand bearer, you are invited to the club. As Martens stylist, collaborator and close friend Robbie Spencer (not pictured due to travel restrictions) puts it, “When you wear Y / Project, you are part of a collective of like-minded people. . Either you understand or you don’t understand.
“I like its strange side, nothing is simple. Glenn is a real designer. He’ll never just put a logo on a t-shirt.
“The brand is personal to everyone who works here. Creative freedom and the way Glenn works with all of us is liberating. “
“I don’t see a difference between working for Y / Project and working for myself. I don’t feel the need to adapt to an aesthetic that isn’t mine because the brand caters to so many different types of people in today’s society.
Artistic direction assistant
“Y / Project consists in giving a touch to a garment. Offering different ways of buttoning, styling, winding up is not just about buying a shirt and wearing it as it is. You include yourself and your personality in the room by styling it your way. “
Marine Brutti, Jonathan Debrouwer, Arthur Harel
Artistic Directors, LA HORDE Dance Company
“You can explore thousands of personalities in the diversity of clothing offered by Y / Project, but you always feel that you belong to a coherent vision.
Co-founder, ADULT ADULT Creative Studio
“Glenn’s contributions are always interesting and just open-ended enough for you to add your ingredient to the recipe. Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but it’s always good to feel that your contribution is valuable to him.
“There is always a twist in clothes, sometimes literally. There is language in the way you wear it. With a little labor of love, you can transform the dress and what you want to say.
“[Y/Project has] convincing relevance in terms of design, creativity and image.
“Because Glenn is so loyal to his team, you feel like you have a responsibility to come up with the best ideas possible and to do it to the best of your ability. “
“Clothes always come with a twist, often literally. Y / Project is a great reminder that you don’t have to be so serious all the time.