At the age of 15, Renzo Rosso was using his mother’s sewing machine to sew jeans for himself and friends in Molvena, Italy. In 1976, he began working for a clothing manufacturer owned by Andriano Goldschmied. After working there for several years, Rosso obtained a loan from his father to purchase a 40% stake in the company. He changed the name to Diesel and began manufacturing jeans.
Rosso bought out Goldschmied’s interest in the Diesel brand name in 1985 for US $500,000, becoming the sole owner of the company. By 1991, Diesel branded, Italian made jeans were being sold in American stores. By 1998, The Wall Street Journal called Diesel jeans “the label of the moment.”
Rosso began acquiring fashion companies in 2002. In 2005, on his 50th birthday, Rosso released a limited edition book entitled “Fifty”, which features an illustrated history of the company.
At its peak in 2010, the company had more than 400 stores, with half of them being franchises, and in 2012, Rosso made the Forbes billionaire list for the first time.
In March 2019, Diesel USA filed for bankruptcy. The company has stated that they have no plans to sell or close out the company, but they did close 28 locations. Diesel currently has 340 locations in the US.
American headquarters for the brand are located in New York, New York.