How Vetements’ anti-fashion approach lead to it being one of the most memorable brands of the last decade. Unpacking the allure of a brand that was designed to hold a mirror to the modern-day consumer.
If the terms clothes and fashion are synonymous, why is it Demna Gvasalia’s mission to bring fashion’s focus back to garments? Through Vetements, many fashion enthusiasts felt a void was filled. A void that once lacked authenticity is now filled with something people can relate to and understand from a genuine viewpoint. Inspired by Maison Margiela, Gvasalia found himself adopting many traits from his time working under the house’s founder.
One is treating the clothes exactly as they are - clothes. Opposed to the stale idea of selling an unobtainable dream to people that many fashion powerhouses still adhere to, Gvasalia and Vetements offer consumers the very thing they market. In turn, something that first appealed to a niche group has now expanded into quite a large movement.
In terms of the clothes themselves, rather than creating new silhouettes altogether, the Vetements aesthetic revolves around taking garments and reconstructing them into the Vetements framework. Much of their collection is ready for consumer wear, yet the price tag reflects a product of certain luxury. The founder stated that he himself would not be willing to shell out the amount the brand asks for their garments. As risky as this statement may be, potentially deterring customers from the brand, Gvasalia stands firm in his statement, as if making fun of the consumers’ sense of finding value in a $1,900 pair of jeans.
The brand itself comes across as anti-establishment. An anti-fashion fashion brand of sorts. Yet people still love the message the brand sends about consumers themselves.; that they are spending thousands of dollars on something they wear once for the gram.
Although consumers often search for the concepts behind the pieces to understand their message, Gvasalia finds it amusing, claiming, “How different people see it and try to understand concepts behind the work that doesn’t even exist.” What people are missing, however, is what the brand stands for. A critic towards self-actualisation in the elitist fashion world, perhaps? A critic of consumer behaviour? Or rather both?
The growth the brand has experienced can be attributed to many factors. Being such a young brand, the Gvasalia brothers commented on the “freedom” they have to make mistakes. The risks they take as a fashion brand, with many controversial releases, have added to their virality, of course, along with celebrity endorsements and fans of Demna Gvasalia himself from his time at Maison Margiela and Louis Vuitton.
One moment that proved beneficial to Vetements’ positive brand association is their reflections on waste in the fashion industry. Guram Gvasalia, brother to Demna and co-founder of Vetements, spoke out against the industry’s overproduction and pollution, saying, “For brands to become more sustainable today, they need to do one simple thing: have their supply meet their demand.” AW18 highlighted this further with excessive layers of clothing draped over models commenting on over-consumption and materialism from consumers and over-production by the fashion industry, equating to pollution and wastefulness. All are beneficial for the young brands’ association and growth overall.
Gsavalia and Vetements are a testament to ‘being yourself is what makes you different.’ Not being afraid of their brand’s voice proves that the brand not only has a backbone but also that it cuts above the noise of the fashion industry. Their unique methodology when it comes to their products reflects this. Avoiding the idea that fashion is something unattainable, glamorous, or highly exclusive, Vetements focus solely on the creation.
In such a competitive landscape, new brands must offer something special. And whether that be something new, trendy, or controversial, Vetements has seen it all and, as a result, came out on top with the following to prove it. Vetements has proven that there are benefits to believing in your brand and staying true to values.