Bringing Sexy Back (Into Menswear): Glenn Martens of Y/Project is One of Our 10 Designers to Meet

Instead of asking one person to curate their world for us, for Issue 51 of 10 Men, we presented our own list of designers who we think are making menswear sexy again. While some like the instant reveal and others prefer the more subversive kind of erotica, they’re all giving us hope for a hotter tomorrow. This list would be incomplete if we didn’t include Glenn Martens of Y/ Project, who is our 7th designer to meet. 

Fashion can often be about timing. Prime example: Glenn Martens. At 21, the Belgian master of deconstruction graduated from an interior design course, but decided he wasn’t ready to get a job, so went to Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts instead. In 2012, after a spell as a junior designer for Jean-Paul Gaultier, he launched a self-named label that ran for three seasons. But then, in 2013, Yohan Serfaty, Y/Project’s founder, passed away, leaving his niche conceptual Parisian brand and its CEO Gilles Elalouf with deep sadness and an empty space where a creative director should be. Martens, then Serfaty’s assistant, was the logical choice.

This string of events quickly turned Martens into one of the most-talked-about designers in a city that had spent decades focusing on the big houses instead of new names. Y/Project transformed into a movement, fuelled by Martens’ dedication to experimentation. A denim trucker jacket with mega-long sleeves, cut-out jeans that turn into a pair of knickers, and thigh-high Ugg boots… Couture levels of creation with a DIY spirit is perhaps the simplest way to describe his Y/Project universe. It’s won Martens the 2017 Andam Prize and a prestigious spot in the fashion milieu. “That’s so Y/Project,” says every fashion journalist at least once.

Photography by Jason Lloyd-Evans. 

The first garment you ever created?

“Our first assignment in school was ‘the experimental skirt’. Mine looked like an exploded pizza box. The only creative background I had was architecture, so I literally saw clothes as buildings. That skirt was doubled with cardboard – I didn’t really sew it together, it was fully glue-gunned.”

Which designers inspire you?

“I really respect the work of Raf Simons and Jonathan Anderson. Of course, [Martin] Margiela and Helmut Lang are legends.”

What do you wear when you want to feel sexy?

“I feel most empowered, and therefore sexy, wearing big, heavy wool coats. Otherwise just black denim and a black T-shirt – ideally very old and out of shape.”

Describe your SS20 collection.

“Eclectic and fun. I always try to make it fun.”

Your perfect date-night scenario?

“Dinner on a heated terrace in Paris in the middle of winter. Too much wine.”

Top image photographed by Arnaud Lajeunie. Taken from Issue 51 of 10 Men – GENTLE, SENSUAL, FANTASY – on newsstands now.