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Distributed: May 4, 2012

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New York, May 4, 2012 (Global Fashion Wire) - For its third super-creative, The Blank Sheet Project has found a passion for fashion, with inspirations from Diesel founder and chairman, Renzo Rosso. Diesel, the global fashion brand, is huge.

So what does Renzo Rosso mean exactly when he tells us that he has built one of the world's most successful fashion empires on the back of being stupid? Indeed, not only is 'be stupid' his mantra, it is a fundamental philosophy of the Diesel brand and its irreverent and spirited advertising. What he actually means, is revealed in an interview D&AD's Tim O'Kennedy on Arjowiggins Creative Papers' inspiration platform:

'When you did things before others,' Renzo Rosso explains, 'they think you are stupid ... smart people think how things are today but stupid people are those who think how things could be.'

He believes he is in good company, referring to Gandhi and Mandela as people who were, at one time, also considered out of kilter with the mainstream; and he relates how the Americans thought he was 'stupid' to launch a pair of jeans in the States for $100 when everyone else's were $52 a pair. Of course, he had the last laugh there. What he means, is that you have to be brave, visionary, 'an interpreter and a pioneer'.

The interview reveals a man who is, without doubt, single-minded; a self-confessed workaholic, yet, surprisingly, a firm believer in collaboration and communal effort:

'You have to work in a team,' Renzo explains. 'Me alone can be nothing ... the team is very important.'

This respect for everyone, which comes, he says, from his family and his father, a hard-working and principled farmer, is the driving force behind his Only The Brave Foundation, a charity involved extensively in development work in Africa. Not used to doing things by halves, he is currently building a village for 20,000 people in Mali, with a modern infrastructure (water, electricity, the internet), houses, a clinic, a secondary school complex for 600 (complete with laboratories and a sports field) and, logically, fledgling businesses, to ensure that his legacy is sustainable. And this is just one of more than a 100 major projects he has on the go in the region.

Renzo Rosso sits comfortably with other passionate leaders on The Blank Sheet Project, like Sir John Hegarty and Neville Brody, who hope to inspire the next generation to be pioneers. And he clearly delights in energetic young people, particularly the 'social interpreters' who contribute brilliantly refreshing ideas to Only The Brave Foundation's valuable work.

The goal of The Blank Sheet Project is to encourage individuals and businesses to be more innovative, thoughtful and sustainable. It asks creatives, if given a blank sheet of paper 'how will you leave your mark?'

It is something that Renzo Rosso has thought carefully about; he hopes that, 'the day I die, people will say, "this was a good man"'.

Jonathan Mitchell, Managing Director of Arjowiggins Creative Papers says: 'To effect change invariably means stepping out of your comfort zone, being willing to try, to fail and try again, learning by your mistakes. Renzo Rosso's philosophy - his approach to business and to life - makes him an ideal ambassador for The Blank Sheet Project and an incredibly inspirational thought leader for creatives everywhere.'

The Blank Sheet Project was first conceived as an internal innovation programme in 2010. The management of Arjowiggins Creative Papers asked themselves and their staff, 'if we started again; if we had a blank sheet of paper; if we put sustainability at the very top of the agenda; what would we do? How could we do things differently?' From over two thousand responses generated within the company, Arjowiggins Creative Papers now has teams developing ambitious sustainability projects to reflect their absolute concern for people, prosperity and the planet. The company's 'up-cycled' reKreate paper, which re-uses fibre waste and contributes to a zero sludge mill, is just one of the many outcomes.


About Only The Brave Foundation

In 2008, Renzo Rosso embarked on his latest and most ambitious project: the Only The Brave Foundation, a not for profit organization with the mission to mobilize people all over the world to end extreme poverty. It researches and invests in a wide range of innovative and sustainable projects providing solutions to some of the world's most challenging problems. For his engagement and contribution, Renzo Rosso has been named Millennium Promise MDG Global Leader, the first Italian personality to receive this recognition, committing to raising awareness of this fight amongst political and business leaders worldwide, and encouraging them to join the movement.

About D&AD

D&AD today is a restless, enquiring, agitating organisation, determined to perpetuate brilliance in commercial creativity. It constantly pushes boundaries, initiating debate and encouraging experimentation, nurturing a tradition of craft skills and celebrating excellence within the creative industries and beyond.

About Arjowiggins Creative Papers

Arjowiggins Creative Papers has 1,300 employees and operates in 82 countries. Products in the Arjowiggins Creative Papers portfolio continually achieve best-in-category performance for paper capability and print performance and are globally available. Each range offers a high quality finish for a wide variety of applications.

All of Arjowiggins Creative Papers' brands have been FSC certified since June 2008, and the company is constantly expanding its recycled paper ranges. Arjowiggins Creative Papers has an unwavering commitment to work alongside both customers and suppliers to continue to innovate through their range of inspiring papers and in the way they do business. Their own Blank Sheet Project aims to ensure that they always make responsible business decisions, focusing on how they will leave their mark - socially, economically and environmentally.

Details can be found at

Diesel - The Official Be Stupid Philosophy.

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