Remember when Diesel jeans were the fashion staple of the 2000s? From the statement low-risers favoured by Paris Hilton to the out-there colourways, the denim brand was seen on anyone and everyone. Then, somewhere between Instagram’s inception and the embrace of high-rise denim, the brand's logo-packed pieces got relegated to the back of our wardrobe and sent to donation bins to make way for more subtle, trend-led looks.
Recently though, Diesel has inched its way back into pop culture and secondhand circles, reaching new audiences with its nostalgia-bating 2000s aesthetic. Fitting perfectly with the current Y2K furore where we’re locking in to other formerly 'uncool' brands like Von Dutch, Juicy Couture and Ed Hardy, statement tees, velour tracksuits and garishly printed tops are sought after once again. Via sites like Depop and Vinted, the newest generation of fashion lovers are discovering the brands of pop culture past.
I first noticed Diesel’s reappearance after seeing its D logo flashed repeatedly on my Instagram Explore page earlier this year. Featured in the brand’s refreshed collections — a divergence from its signature denim designs — the symbol has become a literal stamp of style approval, worn proudly by celebs like Dua Lipa, Rihanna and Julia Fox.
This recent success can be largely attributed to the brand’s revamp under new creative director Glenn Martens, who took the reins from Diesel’s founder Renzo Rosso in 2020, shortly after Diesel's US branch filed for bankruptcy. Since then, he’s catapulted the brand into diverse new territory with sustainability ethics to boot. The collections that have followed have displayed a mixture of fabrics and designs, using recycled trimming and non-toxic chemicals and hooking the attention of the eco-conscious generation.
As with anything in 2022, confirmation of Diesel's comeback can be found on TikTok. Fashion commentators, critics and influencers have taken to the platform to share their thoughts on the brand since its overhaul. Classing Diesel "the hot brand of 2022", others have hailed Martens for "eating up the entire runway season" — a reference to the autumn/winter 2022 shows he also produced for Y/Project and Jean Paul Gaultier — and having "a chokehold on every IT girl and guy" ever since.
The brand’s firm new stance was expressed at its Milan show in February. Described by TikTok fashion commentator @heyjodye as "a revival from their success in the 90s", models walked between large inflated Diesel figures in provocative poses, showcasing a bold rebirth of the brand that has continued to play out this year. The show was immediately praised, with Vogue likening Diesel’s belt skirt to Miu Miu’s infamous micro mini while critics hailed the "alien-like" and "innovative" display of multipurpose denim with moto flair and metallic knits.
Further pushing Diesel into the current landscape is its new 1DR handbag, which displays the striking D logo and arrives during the reign of cult totes like Balenciaga’s City Bag and Telfar’s Shopping Bag. The 1DR, along with Diesel’s D logo belt, has become a trending accessory that taps into Diesel’s 2000s grunge aesthetic.
When Megan Thee Stallion wore a metallic pink dress emblazoned with Diesel’s D logo, with a 1DR bag to match, I officially became re-obsessed with the brand, too. Last month, BIA rocked a head-to-toe Diesel 'fit in her "London" music video and Normani stepped out in the label for Coachella. I’m hooked and frankly impressed with how Diesel has secured demand for its clothing once again. Its obvious alliance with today’s hip hop generation has grabbed the attention of a new target audience and younger fans previously oblivious to the label.
Diesel’s reawakening sets a standard for other fallen labels and perhaps offers a glimpse into the future of what could be coming back into style next. Personally, I'm glad Diesel has made it back – it brings a playful, nonchalantly cool element to my wardrobe that I didn’t realise I’d been missing. This summer, catch me outside with my new jeans and 1DR handbag – no need to ask where they’re from.