This fuel isn’t for your car, it’s for your body.
Diesel is an Italian clothing company that started out by making high end jeans, but expanded rapidly to craft a whole line of clothing for men, women, and children. The company takes classic Italian fashion and extends it to create a look that is both eclectic and luxurious. This balance between casual and high fashion is a major reason Diesel has been able to rise to a company with almost three billion euros per year in revenue.
Mom’s Sewing Machine
Renzo Rosso, Diesel’s founder, started making bell bottom jeans on his mother’s sewing machine when he was just a teenager. He’d wear them himself and sell them to his friends. He went on to attend a high school that focused on industrial textile manufacturing and then to work for clothing manufacturer Moltex.
In 1978, at the age of twenty-three and with the help of a loan from his father, Rosso bought a forty percent stake in Moltex and changed its name to Diesel. With his broad mix of marketing, design, and technical skills, Rosso quickly transformed the company into a high quality fashion line that focused on denim.
Diesel has expanded its production since its founding, but that expansion has been intentionally measured. The company only manufactures its products in Italy, which limits the capacity and the profit margin that they are able to reach. On the other side, this strategy keeps the quality of Diesel’s clothing extremely high.
The Italian flair is an important facet of the Diesel brand, especially in terms of design. Rosso has remained at the helm since it first opened. He became a billionaire in 2012 for the first time thanks to his savvy branding and product reach.
Though Diesel is situated in and run out of Italy, it has a presence all over the world. There are over four hundred Diesel shops from Shanghai to Tel Aviv.
Part of what’s made Diesel stand out is its distinctive advertising. The company is known for its surreal and provocative advertisements. Some of its most controversial and popular ads include imitated car crashes, depictions of life in Communist North Korea, and post-apocalyptic global warming scenarios.
Partnering with Swedish ad agency Paradiset DDB, Diesel has maintained its relevance in part because it has pushed its advertising towards socially relevant causes.
The layout of Diesel stores is distinctive as well, created in such a way as to push customers towards interaction with the staff.
Multiple Lines of Denim
Diesel isn’t just one kind of clothing, it’s a whole family of brands. Diesel StyleLab produces high end fashion that’s targeted for the haute couture runway. Diesel Eyewear is in partnership with Marcolin. Diesel Watches are a partnership with Fossil. Diesel Living has partnered with a whole host of companies to create home furnishings, even going so far as to pair with Bugaboo to create strollers. There’s a line of sport denim with Adidas and Diesel Black Gold for the luxury ready-to-wear side of fashion.
In recent years, Diesel has gone through a restructuring to hone its brands and improve its cohesion. However, the spirit of the company stays the same – innovative and edgy fashion that starts with jeans.