Giuliano Calza: “If you handle it normally, everyone will think it’s normal”

Giuliano Calza is the founder and creative director of one of the most hyped Italian brands at the moment: GCDS. The young streetwear label has conquered the fashion market in a very unconventional way and has become a community for young fashion lovers all over the world. The Flow House met the creative mind behind the Milanese brand and talked to him about his vision, religion and Craig Green.

© Ph. by Andrew Arthur

The Flow House: Has being a creative director for such a successful brand always been your dream?

Giuliano Calza: Honestly, I never thought I could end up having a brand. I knew that I wanted to do something strictly connected to creativity – that’s why I’ve been painting since the age of 4 and following a really unconventional path.

TFH: How did your career start?

GC: I have a degree in political science and a degree in Chinese from Shanghai University. I studied marketing and communication at Bocconi University and as a side activity to pay my rent, I did all the jobs – casting director, stylist, digital PR, assistant to everyone connected to the world of art and fashion. Afterward, I moved back to Shanghai and spent three more years there curating the image of an Italian restaurant. I became fed up with menus and the artistic pics of milkshakes. Then, I wanted to create something that was mine: I launched GCDS in 2014, now I’m here.

TFH: What is the idea behind GCDS?

GC: I want to create scenarios and imaginary fashion places where real clothes for everyday life can cheer you up. I’m doing what I love and I’d like to see it on the subway on my way to work. Fun, independent and ironic!

TFH: Which designer inspires you the most?

GC: In 2011, I was living in NYC and went to an Alexander McQueen exhibition, I was really art-struck. I like JW, a bit polite a bit sexual, but also the D&G 90’s era and lately, I’m more than sure Craig Green is the last real designer alive.

TFH: Vittoria Ceretti, Gilda Ambrosio, you – there are a series of young Italians that are having success in the fashion industry. How do you encourage young talents?

GC: We are really close friends, Italians have grown up into fashion and beauty so it’s not just about the trend of the fashion trend – being in fashion has never been so trendy! Be hungry and enthusiastic about something that you really like. Fashion seems an easy path but definitely needs a lot of character. Then if it was your destiny, it will happen – just work hard for your goal.

TFH: What fascinates you about Milan?  

GC: I’ve lived abroad most of the time when I created myself as a human and creative person. What fascinates me the most are the little things: tastes, smells, colours that I’ve been missing a lot when I was out of this place (but which I used to hate).

TFH: You have Italian roots. To what extent has Italy influenced your brand?

GC: All the GCDS items have Italian craftsmanship. I love to transform local into global! Laces, knitwear, shoes in a more multicultural resonance.

TFH: What do you think about the new generation of Italian brands and designers?

GC: I fully support all the kids that can make it in this country, sometimes it is really hard. There are many challenges I could not even think about. Taxes, bureaucracy and other things are stopping Italy to create a new wave.

TFH: How important is the Asian market for you?

GC: It represents almost half of my sales in terms of business. In terms of heart, I’m happy to go back to a place where I’ve had the weirdest experiences with a new perspective? I’m still shook when I see people in Shanghai or Tokyo wearing GCDS. It’s like someone telling you: you never know!

TFH: Streetwear or High Fashion?

GC: Both, why not mixed!?

TFH: GCDS has its own way of defining masculinity. How genderless should today’s fashion be?

GC: Everyone is battling for gender equality and beauty diversity. I just consider it necessary and something that should already exist, something that should be guaranteed. If you handle it normally, everyone will think it’s normal. That’s why I try to push for beauty and unconventional ideas in my communication.

TFH: You work together with celebrities such as Pamela Anderson. Which celebrity do you dream of working with?

GC: I dream of working with actors. The ones I grew up with, the iconic characters from the 90s movie like Kramer vs Kramer, or with my fav singers and artists.

TFH: God Can’t Destroy Streetwear. Are you religious?

GC: I’m not baptised but I’m from a Catholic country, and my parents wanted me to choose my path, but of course I grew up in school where you pray before lunch or you used to live around churches and Christian iconography. My grandma taught me all the prays for when I’m scared or lost I keep saying in my mind. I do meditate and I have my own beliefs. Now to the name of the brand, it first started to fight the dark moment that fashion was going through with demons and God’s graphics and reference. Today, I have a different perspective because I’m growing up and evolving as well, so it can be GIULIANO CALZA DESIGN STUDIO, or many other things… People tag me in the weirdest names. GCDS IS MORE OF A COMMUNITY WITH A HEAVYWEIGHT TASTE AND LOGO!

TFH: What can we expect from your next show in June?

GC: That it won’t be in June! It will be in September, but it will be stellar!!! ✨

TFH: Where do you see GCDS in 5 years?

GC: I hope it’s going to be this good and fun and that it will allow me to experience different challenges and bring me to fields of creativity. I don’t really know where I’m drifting to because I had no idea I was heading here.

Thank you, Giuliano!

Discover some of our favorite GCDS SS18 looks: