Diesel, I Will Always Love You Even Though You Ripped Off Levi’s

Dear People Who Grew Up In A Normal Place,

You know, often when people ask me what it was like growing up in a National Park (Yosemite), they say things like “Were you raised by wolves? Did you live in a teepee? Are your parents forest rangers?” Unfortunately, the answers to those questions are “No,” “Kind of,” and “Almost.” I did, however, grow up in a “rustic”  cabin in the middle of the woods right next to a huge waterfall. And you’d probably imagine I was running around wearing overalls whilst biting on a piece of straw all the time. That’s not totally true (although I do admit that I was one of the filthiest children that ever existed). When I was in high school, and a terrible human being, I turned into a huge label snob and started buying expensive clothing to wear to my rural high school. In Yosemite, kids start working summers when they’re 14, so we all had spending money all the time and, naturally, I wasted mine on ridiculously overpriced clothes (Sidenote: there was no H&M or Zara at that time, so there was literally nothing cool for guys to wear because everything from J. Crew fit like a sleeping bag).

My favorite brand in high school was Diesel. I loved everything about it. The advertising, the modern, Euro-inspired tailoring of the shirts, and the playful sophistication of the entire lifestyle they were selling. Looking back on it, I must have looked completely ridiculous showing up to my high school (which is in an economically depressed rural town 50 miles away from Yosemite) wearing what I wore. But what is high school for but to look totally ridiculous, right?

I remained a cheesy clothing snob (favorite brands: Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, and Prada) until I graduated college and started fully supporting myself. Then I never bought anything expensive ever again. That’s not true completely. I splurge every now and then but my main sources of clothing these days are Levi’s, H&M, Zara, and Target (Yes, I admit it, and I’m not ashamed… They have really good t-shirts!). When I was in high school most clothing for guys was lame and the only good stuff was expensive. Now you can find tons of really innovative clothing for, like, zero dollars so it doesn’t make sense to spend tons of money.

That being said, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Diesel because it was my first foray into really thinking about fashion and taking it seriously. I still love going into the store because I always find something I want, but these days I find myself attracted to more humble brands, both for practical reasons and because I no longer see why I should spend $300 on a shirt that I could find for $50.

Diesel’s latest campaign is work-inspired and casual. Which I like except Levi’s did it two years ago. Here is the runway show of Diesel Spring/Summer 2012:

Below are a few of my favorite looks from the collection.

I’m really into these semi-Hammer pants, but they never look good on me and make me feel, like, totally diapery.

This is a super cute outfit but the fit is horrible. That skinny model looks like he ate too many Christmas cookies.

This look is flat-out cute. I’ll take the hat, the t-shirt, and the cardigan. And the boy.

Sweater: LOVE. Faux-distressed jeans: HATE.

I like that shirt so much I want to put it in a picture frame and stare at it forever.

These are some ads from the Levi’s “Work” campaign a few years ago. I’m not saying that a denim company can never do the whole “we are workers” thing again, I’m just saying maybe they should wait a while before directly copying the Depression-era working-class aesthetic of one of the most famous clothing brands in the world.

I love this ad so much. It’s so pretty and enthralling.

And finally, for good measure, I found this Brad Pitt Levi’s ad randomly when I was researching the other videos. It has, like, nothing to do with anything but it’s Brad Pitt in the most uberglamourous 90z commercial you’ve ever seen.

You’re welcome.


5 thoughts on “Diesel, I Will Always Love You Even Though You Ripped Off Levi’s

  1. I was a label whore in HS too, in farm-land Wisconsin. I saved up and bought myself the most hideous Versace shirt, and proceeded to be made fun of it. That being said, I didn’t “get” fashion very much — I think I wore said shirt with some men’s trousers from the thrift store. As for jeans, I always wore the vintage Rustlers or Levis I found at the thrift store. I’d do anything for a pair of those these days!

  2. So I had -opened- your blog up before with a link from Emily Henderson’s blog, but I guess I never read anything. I just read your Rose Bowl post and laughed my a off, so I came over here again. You’re cool. I grew up in a National Park too! although my parents were actually park rangers. Middle-of-nowhere, looked-ridiculous-in-high-school describes part of my background as well. (Although I was goth and you probably looked amazing. Just out of place.) That’s probably as similar as we are, but now I will keep reading your blog! 🙂 (Sorry this has nothing to do with Diesel.)

  3. Dear Orlando, I have laughed out loud approximately 7 times reading your posts today. At least. Are you my new favorite thing on the internet?

  4. Yeah, I used to be a clothing snob too. Then I learned a little about how much of a markup there is on designer cloths. I was with my sis one time at Saks and she found a nice little simple cotton blouse, i forget the label, but it was maybe $150. not that bad you say, then found the identical blouse at Target for like $12.99. Both blouses probably came from the same manufacturer, one slapped with a designer label enabling a ridiculous markup, the other with Targets brand label, and Target was still making a profit on it. Had a friend who worked for Donna Karan, informed me that such and such a $1200 dress cost less than $10 in materials and labor. So I don’t buy designer anymore. LOVE YOUR BLOG BTW!

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