GUESS Vintage at Fred Segal

by BJ Panda Bear

When reflecting on 80’s and 90’s casual American style, GUESS Jeans has been synonymous with the iconic imagery associated with the Marciano brothers and Ellen Von Unwerth’s depiction of the blonde bombshell, think Claudia Schiffer and Anna Nicole Smith to name a few. It is with that same popularity that has continued throughout the years as various models have stepped up to give their take on a time-honored tradition as the brand’s ambassadors. Recently, under the direction of Nicolai Marciano, the denim giant has been guided through the digital age with their various collaborators who continue to carry the GUESS spirit. The renaissance includes reissues and collaborative efforts that dive deep into the archives such as the fruitful GUESS x A$AP Rocky collection, which merged old-school styles with millennial sensibilities. 

Taking notice, the label would go all in and embrace the strong heritage that also holds a place in the worlds of sustainability and the long beloved 80s graphic language. The latest project to come from the denim house is the GUESS Vintage pop up at Fred Segal. The pop up presented a selection of vintage GUESS curated by Sean Wotherspoon that was sourced through a rebuying program. The garments are complemented by a silk-screening station which uses those classic 80s graphics, including Foxy, an 80’s GUESS mascot, a beloved brand emblem that is sure to have a bigger resurfacing.  

All this focus on the vintage is just the start as the eco-friendly echo has the brand seeing a change throughout the entire company. These new changes include using more dead stock garments and switching out lightbulbs throughout all the store locations. Water is reduced by using lasers techniques to distress denim, a practice that used to rely on stone washing techniques in the past. The brand is also one of the only to be involved with the Responsible Rayon Program, a global rayon initiative set up to source and recycle the fabrics for commercial reproduction. We got some words in with Marciano ahead of the pop up to learn more about this new project.

How did GUESS start with gathering all the vintage?

Vintage is obviously a huge part of our history. With doing the GUESS Jeans USA  program for the past few years, which is all derive from the archive, it’s something special to take a piece of our archive and show it to the consumer and educate them on all the Vintage GUESS that’s out there and bringing it to one confined activation. Sean Wotherspoon, who we’ve been working with on the Farmers Market and a few other things, is obviously really involved in the whole Vintage world but also in sustainability. With this all being vintage, we’re promoting upcycling the product which is sustainable, and that’s something that GUESS has a much bigger vision for in general. All the vintage is here, we’ve been sourcing for maybe the past year or the past six months, and just getting it from all over the country, all over the world, and putting it together. 

Could you tell me more about the silk screening and the use of these classic graphics?

For the silk screening here, all of those shirts that we’re printing on our deadstock GUESS shirts from the 80s-- like white tees that we’ve had boxed up. All the graphics that we’re featuring are from our graphic archive which are also from 80s to 90s so we’re doing a one-time release of these graphics at the activation for people to either use on the white tees-- on the dead-stock tees-- or if they want to customize vintage, themselves. 

What about the art? It’s really amazing, I thought it was recently commissioned. 

No, it’s not. We’ve actually had it for a really long time by Vladimir Kordic, it’s something we’ve had- that’s like hung up around the office and, you know, is really interesting to see all of these kind of Norman Rockwell paintings with all the GUESS subtle branding within them all so we thought that would be something good to -

It’s really contemporary somehow.

Yeah, it’s cool. I like it a lot.

Good. Is there anything else you’d like to mention about this activation and the GUESS Vintage, in general? Is this something you want to carry on with?

Yeah, this is definitely something I think we’re going to continue to do. Probably activation based and eventually have an online portion of it.