Stefano Rosso lives in a world that we mere mortals can barely imagine. The son of DIESEL’s maverick founder and owner Renzo, Stefano’s jet-setting lifestyle knows no limits. Riding high in the creative stratosphere, the man’s full throttle enthusiasm is wildly infectious. With DIESEL’s footwear range starting to hit its straps, and a bold new collab with adidas under the belt, we managed to pin Renzo down for a rare interview to talk about his love for sneakers and DIESEL’s future direction. Whether it’s hobnobbing with adidas heavyweights in the cauldron that is Champions League football or hosting his infamous RED ROOM global parties, Stefano keeps ticking 24-7. Read on for a slice of life with the DIESEL Don!
Hey Stefano, how are you today? More importantly, where are you?
Well I am fine, and I am here in Bassano, my home town, for a few days before going to LA and then NYC fashion week.
You’re famously the son of Renzo, who took Diesel from a small brand to a giant company. You must be proud of him, he certainly seems like quite a character. In spite of all this outrageous success… do you think of him as a normal dad?
Of course, I grew up as a normal child. Back then Diesel was a small company; the company only really grew when I was already a teenager, and so I was able to live my father as a normal one! Well almost normal…not every kid has a dad with long hair bringing home for dinner crazy people from all over the world!
I’m sure you have both the brains and the resources… Do you ever feel like doing something different from the family business?
Well I do. Aside from my work in Diesel I run a "just for fun" project with my brother called RED ROOM. It started as a small party in my house and it is now growing into a global lifestyle event!!!
I guess I could ask some questions about Diesel and 55DSL, but our audience really wants to know about you. What’s happening in Italy right now as far as footwear goes?
Speaking of sneakers, I think that Italian consumers in general mostly love LA Trainers and Stan Smith, so very basic styles. On top of this, there is also a niche of sneaker lovers, fond of limited edition and cool things like that. When speaking of fashion and dressy shoes, then Italians are probably the best shoemakers and consumers in the world!
What’s your personal style? And has it changed much over the years?
I don’t have just one style, it really changes according to time, trends and special discoveries while I travel! When I was a teenager, I have been a BBOY – I was kicking the old school styles such as Gazelle, Campus, Clyde etc… Now I love Forum Mids and ZX. I buy a lot of sneakers; from regular to limited edition ones, and I always wear them: I can’t buy a pair of shoes and leave it in a box!
Tell us about the recent shoes Diesel collaborated on with adidas… It’s not the first time you guys have joined forces and I was wondering how that connection came about?
It honestly all happened by chance, at an AC Milan – Bayern Munich football game my father and I had the chance to meet with the Adidas CEO, we both respected each other’s brands and from the classical "lets do something together" we made a collaboration that has been going on for almost three years, with the Denim collection first and now with the sneaker collection.
And do you think this will be an ongoing project?
Who knows… For sure we will have another sneaker collection coming out this summer! Then we will see. I believe these collabs can always evolve to something new as far as we have the enthusiasm and are able to bring something valuable to our consumers!
And the shoes… did you personally have much of a say in how they look?
Yes, I am not a designer, but I gave a lot of feedback to our team. I lived all my life loving and wearing these two brands, so I felt I had a lot to give to this project.
Didn’t I see adidas made you some special red leather versions of the Jeremy Scott Wings shoes?
Ahahahah, they were not mine unfortunately! It was my friend Ben at our RED ROOM party. I believe everybody in the room wanted to steal them!
Let me get back to Diesel for a minute. I have to admit I wasn’t exactly up on your own branded sneaks, but once I had my arm twisted to take a look at the 2011 range I was pretty impressed. Seriously. Hardcore sneaker guys are unlikely to accept anything other than a sports brand making runners but I thought you made a solid attempt at defining your own style. Are you happy with where your shoes are at?
I believe in the last year we made a serious step forward with our sneakers. We found our space, where we can express our DNA in terms of design and treatments. We are bringing to the market our own interpretation of the sneaker world and we can affirm, especially on the treatments, that we are bringing innovation to our consumers.
I like the CLAWSTER, the YUK strap and the PASS ON.
The catalogue was classic, and full of your irreverent DIESEL ‘ass-kicking’ antics and slogans as well…. Is it a blessing or a curse to have all that previous Diesel advertising as a reference?
When you have so much great history in the communication campaign it is easy to know what you stand for and what are your values… so a blessing, no matter what. To have done so many cool adv campaigns only helps us in building the next great one, and I strongly believe that the Kicking Ass concept was hitting the target though.
Actually, I thought of a slogan for your Diesel shoes… do you want to hear it?
Mmmmm, shoot it.
OK, you can have it for free. I think it should say… "For successful Walking!" What do you think?
Come on, that’s so boring!!! Diesel can be much more than that…
What about "For successful Dancing?"
I am sure you can do better.
Ok, I’ll move on. And lastly… I know you love a good party. What was the last great party you went to?
Well that’s easy, I make the best party in the world, it is called the RED ROOM PARTY and it will come soon to a city near you!!! Stay tuned!!