It should've been a big year for Gallery Dept. I mean, it kinda was, given the Lanvin collab and constant celeb co-signs. But founder Josué Thomas is apparently getting out of the clothing biz regardless of his imminent ascendance.
Thomas announced the end of Gallery Dept. in a lengthy and (intentionally) ambiguous letter uploaded in pieces to his label's Instagram page.
"From the beginning, Gallery Dept.'s focus has been making the best product, while easing the burden of resource consumption," Thomas stated. "Because each case is unique and deserves a unique solution, I am choosing to continue the practice of being an artist and withdraw myself from the fashion industry.
Or, as he said on his personal account, "#retired."
Thomas is leaving behind a brand at the height of its powers, with a rabid fanbase of devotees to boot. Many of them couldn't believe that Thomas was serious about shuttering Gallery Dept. when he began uploaded a "STORE CLOSING!" collage in August, leading up to an "EVERYTHING MUST GO" video on September 11.
Turns out, he meant it.
There's still plenty of stuff still available on Gallery Dept.'s web store and its international stockists, but it's likely that Thomas' brand is done producing new items and will simply keep its website open until the current selection is cleared out of old stock.
Fans, of course, are clamoring for a clearance sale. But even as it closes shop, Gallery Dept.'s clothing will never be "affordable," according to Thomas.
"If the first thing you look at is the price, it’s going to alter your thinking about a piece," he said last year. "I’d rather people engage with the clothing first."
From Migos to Virgil Abloh, Gallery Dept. had no shortage of famous fans. Thomas' paint-splattered T-shirts and hand-finished flare jeans indicated a new type of American luxury, one authentically born of street culture but elevated to hush-hush prestige by its many influential admirers.
Gallery Dept. reveled in its intentionally obfuscated facade, designed to weed out core obsessives from casual observers. Plus, its garments were priced more like artworks than wearables, as I mentioned earlier.
Aficionados know better than to think that Thomas is on perma-vacation, though.
He's already got two new ventures in the works: Le Bar Dé Music De La Galerie, presumably a combo art gallery/music venue/watering hole, and Chateau Josué, which appears to be a hotel/gift shop à la Ace Hotel.
Highsnobiety reached out to Thomas and Gallery Dept. for further comment.