Published: October 04, 2017
all in the family with Diesel
Growing up as a Rosso meant early exposure to the inner workings of the denim industry for Stefano Rosso, son of Diesel founder Renzo Rosso and heir to the Italian denim brand’s empire.
Diesel has been known for its alternative luxury vibe and innovative denim since its birth in 1978, and so many consumers still seek it out for something that is genuinely cool to add to their denim wardrobe. Over the years, Diesel has evolved into a leader in premium casual wear, and Stefano plans to strengthen the company’s market presence and that leadership position even further.
Stefano, now CEO of Diesel’s North America business, started out at Diesel doing marketing and manufacturing, then switched to stints at some of Diesel parent company OTB’s other brands, which include Maison Margiela, Marni and Viktor&Rolf. With his focus squarely back on the denim brand since he took over the CEO role this summer, Stefano has a vision to see through for denim and Diesel.
Carved in Blue spent some time with Stefano, exploring what it was like to look into the denim industry from such a young age, finding out what his father’s lessons have taught him and getting a glimpse of what’s likely ahead for denim.
Carved in Blue: What was your first impression of the denim business when you were younger?
Stefano: That it was extremely complicated yet fascinating. It is a very particular product that can make the difference in the everyday life of consumers. You need to keep in mind so many aspects like comfort, fashion, durability, communication, construction…it is truly a world in and of itself!!!
Carved in Blue: Did you always want to go into the denim business? What did your dad think?
Stefano: Not really. I knew the environment but decided to work in the industry when I was 23. It was a journey and my father never forced me into the company.
Carved in Blue: Do you want your children to follow in your footsteps?
Stefano: No, I want them to be free to do what they like and have passion for. If you have passion for something you are most likely to succeed, and as individuals my children should discover what they love.
Carved in Blue: When did you realize you were a blueblood?
Stefano: After spending six months in the production department of Diesel. I visited all our partners’ facilities and realized how our jeans are all different and almost pieces of art. The construction and treatment we do are unique, and you realize it only when you see it with your own eyes. About our jeans, I always say we make ‘denim paintings.’
Carved in Blue: What is the best advice you’ve gotten from your dad?
Stefano: Make your own team with the right people who share your values and complete your set of competencies. Trust them and you will have GREAT RESULTS.
Carved in Blue: What do you think’s ahead for the denim industry in the future?
Stefano: The denim industry went from being a cool fashionable category to a commodity that completes your outfit. I feel we will go back to artisanal unique denim soon.
Carved in Blue: What does Carved in Blue mean to you?
Stefano: It means my LIFE!!!