Today, Vetements, one of fashion’s most lauded brands, announced that it will no longer present its collections via catwalk shows. Speaking to Vogue, Demna Gvasalia revealed: “We are not going to show in the classical system any more.” While the brand will still produce collections, this surprising move is indicative of the collective’s insightful business and marketing decisions.
Vetements has never played by the rules. Since the design collective (anonymous bar its leader Demna Gvasalia) presented its first collection back in 2014, it has garnered international acclaim as well as derision. From introducing an Eastern European-inspired aesthetic of elongated sleeves, deconstructed silhouettes and oversized shapes to every street styler’s wardrobe, and the tongue-in-cheek reworking of DHL logos, to its recent relocation from Paris to Zurich: the industry has been constantly captivated by Vetements’ moves.
Speaking to Vogue, Gvasalia explained that rather than trundle along the expensive and repetitive conveyor belt of catwalks, it is embracing slowness, purposefulness. “I got bored. I think it needs to enter a new chapter. Fashion shows are not the best tool. We did the show in the sex club, the restaurant, the church. We brought forward the season, we showed men’s and women’s together. It’s become repetitive and exhausting. We will do something when there’s the time and the need for it. It will be more like a surprise.”
So what does this move mean for the brand? It seems as though the past half decade has created a bigger beast than Gvasalia could have imaged: “It’s like we’ve got this big baby, and we’ve got to take care of it. In five years, it’s gone so fast, it started to become something else”, he explains. A divisive figure in fashion, the designer has a legion of followers and supporters who praise his every move, but Vetements has had its fair share of criticism. Is it the work of a genius, or simply the emperor's new clothes? Demna himself has said that he’d “rather go on holiday” than “go and buy” his own designs. Now, he’s denouncing his own aesthetic: just this week, Demna told WWD that “Eastern Europe is over for me” and that he wanted to focus his creativity on a “more analytical” approach, “which is more based on really observing the way we dress, what we wear, and why we wear it.”
Those fanatic buyers who scrambled to pay £185 for a T-shirt will surely be disappointed to hear news of the end of the Georgian designer’s street-inspired aesthetic. A master disrupter, Demna refuses to play by traditional rules, and so it should come as no surprise that as soon as his aesthetic became mainstream, he would leave it behind for a more forward-thinking focus. “I want to bring it back to where we started. No more oversize hoodies any more! We’re independent. We can do what we choose. That’s the beauty of Vetements.” Whether you love or hate the brand and the designers behind it, there’s no denying the frenzy it’s whipped up in the industry – a genuine approach, or a clever marketing tool? Either way, all eyes are on Zurich to produce the next surprise.