How this native of bruges, the rising star of the fashion world was: ‘Ten years ago I could not even sew”

Ten years ago, it was Glenn Martens (34) never been a sewing machine seen. Today were Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and Marion Cotillard have already been spotted in his designs. How the native of bruges the rising star of the fashion world.

Native of bruges Glenn Martens on the catwalk of the Y/Project show, Spring/Summer 2018, Paris Fashion Week © WWD/REX/Shutterstock

A few days before the start of the fashion Week of Paris is the atelier of native of bruges Glenn Martens in the tenth arrondissement in Paris, a veritable beehive. The space of 140 square meters is full of sewing machines, and between them are constantly a 25-many workers in the back. Models the eye-catching garments, freelancers and interns to walk to and fro, with needle and thread, dressmakers are very busy the last touch-ups to do. “All sketched garments come fully back from the producers,” says Glenn Martens, ” Each piece we need to check and, where necessary, retouch. Some we have to hand finishing. In short: a lot of finishing touches.’

The importance of a show on the Paris fashion Week cannot be overestimated, know Martens: ‘A designer is only as good as his last collection. All our work of the last six months stands or falls with that show of, say, ten minutes. That moment determines whether we are successful will reap, or slated to be.’

Despite the stress, looks a Glenn Martens calm: “It is my twelfth Week, it is for me already a little less stressful. The time of surprises is over. I know that there are two days before the show even pieces poorly sewn to be able to return. I have my team completely under control, I know what we can handle. But it remains my exam.’

From architecture to fashion


When I was at the royal academy admitted was, I did not know that I also had to sew…

– Glenn Martens

More than ever, the eyes are focused on what Glenn Martens next week from the typical brown hat will turn. The 34-year-old native of bruges won this summer, the Grand Prix de l’ANDAM, the most important European modeprijs. The price depends on a check of 250,000 euro. As a director the Golden Palm at the Cannes film festival would win: “We get great feedback from the press and our buyers, but this prize is awarded by the CEO’s of the biggest fashion houses, people with many years of expertise… That my name is now between legendary crackers is featured, is an incredible honour.’

Ten years ago, did nothing suspect that Glenn Martens in the fashion world would end up. “When I graduated as a bachelor in interior design at Sint-Lucas in Ghent, I felt that I was still too young to go to work’, he says, ” I wanted to say something bijstuderen. During my studies I had the building of the royal academy in Antwerp visited. That was the first time that I heard from that direction. A magnificent piece of architecture.’ Quite spontaneously took Martens part to the strict ingangsexamen, nota bene with a portfolio full of furniture was: cabinets, drawers, sofas. “When I was told that I was among the eighty selected men was,’ he says, ‘Hundreds of candidates from all over the world did their best to get inside and to me it was successful… Then I just do, I thought.’

Young wolf

Rihanna in a design of native of bruges Glenn Martens © Y/Project

The first two years were not what he had expected: ‘I did not know that I also had to sew. A sewing machine I had never seen. Very naive of me. I was also between people who are in Antwerp, master after master came to follow. My backlog was huge. But very quickly I became bitten by the box, and after two difficult years it was then better. In the fourth year I finished as first of the class.’

A member of the jury on his eindproef at the Antwerp fashion academy – a friend of the chief designer of Jean Paul Gaultier – talked Glenn Martens within the legendary fashion house. ‘Very exceptional’, is aware of the native of bruges, ” As a young wolf, you should normally for the first two years of internship to do before you might have a job offer. There are many more people interested than there are places in the fashion industry. That was an incredible gift because a stage had my parents or I could never pay.’

When that team dissolved, pulled the French couturier Yohan Serfaty, the young native of bruges as his first assistant. Then followed a few freelanceopdrachten, including his mentor and fellow native of bruges Bruno Pieters. It was Glenn Martens is sufficient money collected to his own brand to start.

This he did three modeseizoenen, to Y/Project knocked. This was the new project by Yohan Serfaty, who shortly afterwards died from the effects of cancer. “The brand asked me if I wanted to take over,” says Martens, ” I was sitting with a dilemma: do I go with my own brand or do I? Y/Project to all employees, a department, a commercial and sales department had proved decisive. The three years before I had, backed up by a trainee, all yourself need to do. I was dead tired.’

Image monitor

Over the past four years put Glenn Y/Project to his hand: ‘The first two years went all my attention to the transformation of the historic brand to how I saw it. Very gently, very respectful of Yohan. Drastically change, we wanted to also not, because we could not afford to lose customers. In the meantime, we have grown from 40 to 150 stores. Curiously, the sale abroad is going very well, Belgium is just about the last added country where we are for sale. (laughs)’


Many stars come knocking on your door, but I’m very selective. Rihanna gets showstukken of the catwalk, against Nicki Minaj, I always say no.

Y/Project has grown to be a trendy and eye-catching brand. Jeansbroeken that is far too large eyes or in which the buttocks are visible, a voetbalsjaal with the effigy of Napoleon and his wife… The brand is not in a box to stop and is often seen as ‘eclectic’ described. Stars like Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and Marion Cotillard are regularly spotted in a design of Martens. “That certainly helps in the sale, yes’ he admits, ‘a Lot of stars come knocking on your door, but we are very selective with whom we work. I have the last word. Someone should fit the image of the brand. Rihanna gets showstukken of the catwalk, against Nicki Minaj , I always say no. Though they, of course, the pieces to buy and wear, but I will never dress up.’

Kim Kardashian in a design of native of bruges Glenn Martens © 4CRNS / BACKGRID

The image monitor is just one of the many tasks of the creative director. The styling, the catwalk, the models, the campaigns: it passes all with him. “Every creative director works in a different way,” explains Martens, ” Every collection from Y/Project begins with me. I determine which concepts we will figure out. Then get the team two to three weeks the time to work. On the basis of their and my proposals character and I develop the final collection. The studio then makes these pieces. Every two or three days, we organize tests with models and we look at how the pieces evolve. To each garment that you will soon be on the catwalk of the Parisian fashion Week, and went at least four test pieces in advance.’ And so also a lot of retouching work in the last days.

This piece appeared eerderop the site of KW.

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