GCDS Designer Giuliano Calza on the Future of Streetwear + First Look at Fall ’19 Runway Shoes

“I’m evolving in a way. Three years ago, I would never think of doing boots or platforms,” said Giuliano Calza, the designer behind GCDS, which will hold its fall ’19 runway show this evening at Milan Fashion Week.

The designer — who founded GCDS, an acronym for God Can’t Destroy Streetwear, in 2015 with his brother Giordano — has rapidly built the brand in the past four years. Now he’s looking to make shoes a bigger part of the business while evolving his overall vision for the company.

“Streetwear is here to stay because people are not going to back to suits. Even if that’s the next sartorial trend, there are too many consumers out there who want easy things to wear every day,” Calza said. “There’s going to be a new woman and a new man. It’s going to be more organic in a way.

Patent logo platforms from GCDS.

The collection’s fall ’19 women’s shoes include patent boots, statement platforms engraved with the GCDS logo, chunky sneakers and over-the-top feather-embellished slides.

Calza’s goal for the shoe collection is to keep it accessibly priced — average prices are about 350 euros, or $400 — without sacrificing quality. “I remember myself being a kid and thinking I could never buy 700-euro shoes,” the designer said.

Here, Calza opens up about how men and women shop the collection differently, whether he would ever sell the company and more.

On designing shoes versus ready-to-wear: “I think I like designing shoes better. You have to be concrete and consistent. You have to be sure it’s going to work and be comfortable. Everything I know about shoes and how to make them is from factories, the old ladies in Italy. When I said I want to do patent leather, they told me how hard it was to put on the shoes. In the end, it did turn out really well.”

On men’s versus women’s: “We’re about 60 percent men’s and 40 percent women’s. Women are more into seasonal collections, while men go for iconic looks, the logo, oversized everything. I think they’re always going to go for the sneakers. “

GCDS fall 2019, pink boots
GCDS fall ’19 boots.
CREDIT: Courtesy of GCDS

On making women’s shoes in men’s sizes: “I want to be a brand that welcomes people rather than pushes them away. I have a lot of transgender friends, drag queen friends, and the most difficult thing is to find good shoes. So I wanted to do size 43 or 44 in the women’s shoes, but it’s really difficult and too expensive. In the future, I want to open it for everyone. We recently got some new women’s shoes, and we all started trying them on.”

On his top celeb shoe moment: “Kim Kardashian was a big deal. I am friendly with Bella Hadid through other common friends — and I sent her a pair of logo boots. I saw Bella and Kendall were together — and Kendall was wearing the shoes. Bella said she gave them to Kendall, and I was shook. I was starstruck.”

GCDS fall ’19 sneakers
CREDIT: Courtesy Image

On his goals: “I want to keep doing things in Italy. Hopefully, the company is going to get bigger. We started with makeup, and it’s doing so well. I always get excited about big challenges. For sure, I want to open a school, or a reading space or coffee bar just for kids. I didn’t come from a wealthy family, so creating a space where people can come would be so cool.”

On whether he and his brother would sell the brand: “Everyone is saying sell and cry or don’t sell and regret. You never know. I don’t want to be trapped; that’s what scares me the most. I don’t want someone to come and say, ‘You have to do this, you need to do more commercial, more artsy, more celebrity.’ It would be a nightmare. This is a brand that represents freedom in a way.”

See more styles from GCDS’ fall ’19 collection.

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