There's a lot of German in Vetements' collections — a natural consequence of the Gvasalia family's relocation from Tbilisi to Dusseldorf in early 2000s. Back then, the plan was for fresh-faced Demna, an International Economics graduate, to take on a highly sensible career in the banking industry.
Unfortunately, said plan left the burgeoning creative feeling like "the most unhappy person in the world," and instead, he upped sticks to study fashion design at Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts. (You don't need us to explain what happened next.)
Still, as unhappy as those years in Germany may have been, they would leave a lasting influence on Demna — one that can be acutely felt in his work with Vetements to this day. From the infamous Polizei wares to a recently-unveiled Rammstein hoodie, the collective has reveled in confounding fashion audiences with its madcap Teutonic curveballs. I mean, come on, a Rammstein collaboration!?
Keen to explore these motifs further, we asked the head of Highsnobiety's e-commerce platform What Drops Now and proud German native, Nigel Minani, to break them down. Find out what he had to say below.
"I never got what this was about until someone told me that Demna actually grew up in Germany. Still, it feels weird seeing pieces with POLIZEI written on them. I mean, c'mon, it's the police — they're not cool. I even heard one dude in Stuttgart had his raincoat confiscated by the authorities because it looked too real!"
"This goes back to a survey that is done to find where is the happiest place in Germany. Osnabrück and the area around it usually ends up in the top. That's what the text says: "I'm glad that I live in Osnabrück." Personally, I'm glad that I live in Berlin — Osnabrück sounds boring!"
"Literal translation: 'world pain.' When you're feeling this pain you're not happy with the world at the moment. You suffer from being unsatisfied with what's going on on the planet. I can relate a little, to be honest — think about how irony rules our society these days."
"Even if you're not into metal, you will surely know Rammstein tracks. "Ich Hab Keine Lust," "Sonne," "Benzin," "Du Hast," the hit list goes on. It's the greatest and most successful band to ever come out of my country and they have the craziest live shows, with flame throwers and stuff like that. It's the same with the Metallica shirt hype though — if you don't know the band, don't wear this piece!"
When you're finished reading, here's Vetements explained to someone who hates fashion.