$1.5 million (2018)
Perhaps one of the most talked-about labels in fashion right now, Vetements is currently based in Zurich, Switzerland.
Founded by Georgian fashion designer Demna Gvasalia alongside his brother Guram, who presides as CEO overseeing the brand’s business operations, Vetements creates a wide range of menswear and womenswear inspired by everyday fashion and regular people – the brand name itself is literally the French word for “clothing”.
Demna Gvasalia graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp in 2006 and began working as a womenswear designer for Maison Martin Margiela in 2009. Having graduated from the same institution as Martin Margiela and the rest of the Antwerp 6, it might be unsurprising to see many of the same influences and fascinations in Gvasalia’s work. In 2012, Gvasalia became head designer for Louis Vuitton’s womenswear for 2 years, and then branched off to launch his own label.
Vetements produced its first collection in Fall 2014, and though Gvasalia’s associations with other houses attracted the attention of numerous buyers, people were reluctant to invest heavily in such an unknown brand. For the label’s Fall/Winter 2015 presentation, they made the bold decision to show their collection in Paris’ Le Dépôt sex club, a move which firmly put them on the map from that point onwards.
The brand arguably broke through to the mainstream with its Spring/Summer 2016 collection, however. The presentation’s mixture of shirts, sweats, outerwear and dresses with morphed shapes, extended sleeves, oversized cuts and modified constructions was actually in keeping with previous releases by the brand, but the brand’s streetwear-esque re-appropriation of household brands and symbology – such as DHL, Champion and the film Titanic – caused ripples from the upper echelons of fashion to the blogosphere and social media.
The big hit from the collection, a modified yellow DHL t-shirt modelled on the runway by Russian fashion designer Gosha Rubchinskiy, became that summer’s must-have piece and established Vetements as a major player in contemporary fashion.
In recent seasons, Vetements has continued to court controversy and stir up conversation in the fashion world with its unorthodox approach to high fashion. The brand is known for casting its models from Instagram and other unusual places, and collections have taken inspiration from far-flung areas such as death metal, office workers, kitchen aprons and more.
For the brand’s Fall/Winter 2017 presentation, models ranged from elderly white women in opulent fur coats, to bulky black men resembling nightclub security, to leather-clad punks with foot-long red spikey hair, in a collection that was largely interpreted as a celebration of everyday people and the beauty of irregularity.
Around this time, the Gvasalia brothers broke the mold even further by announcing that they would no longer be following traditional fashion schedules, instead choosing to present collections as and when they liked. For their Spring/Summer 2018 presentation in Paris, Vetements held a “NO SHOW” show, located on top of a car park in the city centre, with photographs of street-cast models on the streets of Zurich, where the brand recently moved its headquarters.
As head of Vetements’ business operations, Guram Gvasalia has repeatedly stressed the clear business and commercial thinking behind Vetements; imposing maximum orders on buyers (rather than minimums) to ensure product stays limited; placing high prices on items to create an allure of luxury and scarcity; cultivating the brand as a “club” of sorts, for fashion insiders.
What is also worth noting, however, is that many of Vetements’ most popular pieces are a continuation of the work Martin Margiela did with his own fashion label over a decade ago, such as reconstructed denim, asymmetrical shirting and footwear with hand-drawn doodles across them. As a result, some have interpreted Vetements as a commercial reinterpretation of the Margiela ethos. Nonetheless, the brand continues to be one of the leading voices in contemporary fashion.
Pronounced “vet-MAHN,” Vetements is French for “clothing.” The choice of name for the fashion collective was alleged to be one that reflects its original philosophy as having no sub or supra identity, only made for being worn.
Gosha Rubchinsky walked in the DHL t-shirt as part of Vetements’ SS16 show in October 2015, and after the public announcement of Demna Gvasalia as the CEO and front-row fashion show guests such as Kanye West and Travis Scott made headlines, it did not take very long for the brand’s pieces to sell out as soon as they dropped.
Vetement’s DHL t-shirt went viral after Gocha Rubchinsky walked in it during the SS16 show, and it similarly picked up a lot of media attention for its price. Headlines were questioning whether Vetements was being subversive or merely scamming customers for a t-shirt at the price of €245. In 2018 however, the Paris label continued with the DHL collection in the form of a formal collaboration with the company, presenting it at the DHL hub in Leipzig.
Musicians and influencers alike have adorned Vetements’ clothing, pushing the Paris collective’s hype to an irrefutable level. Notable names include Kendal Jenner, Rihanna, Kanye West, Kendal Jenner, Rita Ora and even Celine Dion.
Reebok, DHL, Umbro, Tommy Hilfiger, Juicy Couture
Vetements presents its first collection during the Fall/Winter 2014 season in Paris.
Demna Gvasalia is appointed creative director at Balenciaga.
Release of the DHL T-shirt.
Kanye West shows up to Dior’s FW15 show in the now-signature oversized Vetements hoodie.
Menswear pieces coincide with the reopening of Dover Street Market in London.
54 look line-ups containing collaborations with brands such as Juicy Couture, Dr. Martens and Canada Goose.