Georges Marciano
Founder of GUESS, California, USA 1981

Interior at LHotel Montreal in Old Montreal (Quebec), Canada

Marciano: A Designer and Cultural Influence

Fashion has become a huge part of human culture and identity. It’s fascinating to think that, to an extent, many of us express our individuality through the clothes that we wear and this is made possible thanks to designers who live to create, such as Georges Marciano. Some style trends explode with popularity, while others sometimes barely take off, yet regardless of its success, it all firsts starts with an idea to create, to bring an idea to life. A designer’s vision could mean the next style of jacket you wear for the winter, or the fit of jeans everyone will be sporting next season. Much like Marciano’s vision for stonewashed jeans and how it completely changed the denim industry for years to come.

As a young boy living in Marseille, the old merchandise making its way in from America always fascinated Georges Marciano. According to him “everyone was so concerned by the high fashion coming out of the major fashion capitols, but I was more interested by the American fashion making its way back to Europe”. Gathering his inspirations from the American culture, Marciano was unique in the sense that popularity and high fashion were not what sparked his interest. Instead, he was intrigued in a look that he was unfamiliar with, a look from another part of the world. Even now, Marciano still draws his inspiration from America and also from Japan.

While the fashion industry is certainly a business, it’s an industry that presents us with a set of choices from which to choose from, meaning that the fashion world shapes and influences our own personal style. Behind the marketing and the business aspects, there lie the artists of the designs, the visionaries who, essentially, dress us everyday. Georges Marciano admits that he is certainly no businessman, instead defining himself as an idea man and a dreamer: “I dream big and I am a very passionate person. I believe that having passion, or discovering a new passion can heal a person in many ways or send them along the right path if they were lost,” the true mindset of an artist.

Designing clothes isn’t just a job to him; it’s the ability to express his passion, pulling his inspirations from different cultural and personal experiences and the beauty that he has seen from his earlier years of travelling the globe. In a world where cultural identity is so closely linked to the appearance of how we dress and the way we present ourselves, designers such as Marciano are, in a sense, the artists of our culture and the stylists of our wardrobe.

From Marseilles to Montreal: A Change of Scenery Reinvigorates Georges Marciano’s Fashion Focus

 

Though Georges Marciano achieved fame and success through the formidable American brand, Guess Jeans, he still retains much of his French heritage. Growing up on the cobblestone streets of Marseille, France, he spent part of his youth selling stock silk-ties door to door in the quaint town, until he realized that he could make a better product on his own and make a business out of it.

He credits this light bulb moment for launching him into his fashion career. “I strongly believe in first impressions,” he says. “I first started off selling silk ties in Marseilles, France from door to door. After doing this for only a short amount of time, I realized I could not only sell these ties myself, but I could find better material, and design my own ties, the way I liked them.”

It wasn’t long before he had his own store in France. But a fascination with America and denim always called to him. He recounts, “Living in Marseille I was always fascinated by the old merchandise making its way in from America. Everyone was so concerned by the high fashion coming out of the major fashion capitols, but I was more interested by the American fashion making its way back to Europe.”

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for Marciano to move to America with the idea of launching a denim brand that the country had never seen before. Even though designers at the time had written jeans off as passé and boring, Marciano was convinced that his stone-washed denim pants would revolutionize the industry. He was right, and, as most know, his label turned into one of the biggest fashion success stories of the past 30 years.

In 1993, however, Marciano tired of the glitzy lifestyle in his adopted home of LA, and he sold his shares in Guess to his brothers. His next move would get him in touch with his roots, while invigorating his passion for (what else?) denim again. The move was to Montreal, Canada’s famous French-Canadian city, full of the same charm from Marciano’s hometown of Marseilles. “I love Old Montreal the most,” he says speaking of his new environment. “I love it because it reminds me of the old days when I as in Marseilles. I believe me being here is perfect timing for the launch of my new line. The energy I feel in the city is extremely nostalgic of my early days in France.”

This new line he mentions is called GM, Georges Marciano, and it focuses on contemporary-cool denim clothes with a Southern-Californian vibe, yet it is also sprinkled with just a hint of that cutting-edge French attitude that made Marciano famous in the first place. “We all know that fashion comes full circle every few years. I believe it is therefore my time to make a make on the fashion industry yet again. GM will be based off the aesthetics of the 1980s, a throwback to a time when the wash, fit and style of denim were expressive and fun,” he says. No doubt he will cause a stir with his clothes once again, and fans across the world will embrace each denim garment with open arms.