May 3, 2016

Creative Director of Vetements Demna Gvasalia once summed up his brand’s approach: “We work with clothes and about clothes. It’s always an attitude of cool.” Since its launch in 2014, Vetements has become one of the coolest and most talked-about fashion labels in the world.

Founded by Denma Gvasalia and his brother Guram, who has taken on the role of CEO, with five other collaborators, the Vetements look is street wear gone glam. In Denma’s lengthy interview with Business of Fashion, he noted that Vetements started because he and his collaborators desired to create clothes they liked aesthetically for friends and girls that they liked—their pieces are nothing new, but are clothes that people would actually want to wear. Playing with proportion has quickly become a signature quality of the Vetements aesthetic—their pieces are often oversized although pieces from their latest Autumn-Winter 2016-17 showcased a small shake-up with shorter sleeves, sharp shoulders and pinched waists.

Guram Gvasalia, Photo credit: Narya Abhimata

However, as so many fashion critics have taken pains to point out, Vetement pieces are luxurious, with finesse and polish applied to its details and materials. Vetement hoodies, for example, are crafted from unconventional materials like molten cotton which are nearly two times heavier than conventional cotton hoodies. The brand also insists on strict exclusivity. Vetement clothes come only in limited quantities which are never restocked. There is even a cap on the number of items one retailer can buy (10 pairs of jeans and for Italian stores only four jersey tops) in order to keep the items special. Guram Gvasalia explained to Scarlett Conlon of Vogue that “Once it’s sold out, it’s sold out. We had hoodies from the first season that sold out super quickly and we had thousands of requests to make the hoodies again. If we were to, we would probably be able to make a million in a day. It’s out of respect to the people that bought them first that we don’t.”

Vetements’ lateral thinking in the tight Paris fashion landscape has seen it gain serious momentum—winning over leagues of fans in just four short seasons. All of Vetements’ seasonal collections shown so far have received critical acclaim. Creative Director Denma Gvasalia was, in fact, appointed creative head of Balenciaga shortly after Alexander Wang announced his resignation. Their shows, much like their clothes, have also received high scrutiny and praise. Its most recent show, featuring the Autumn-Winter 2016-17 collection, was set in a church: with the revelation that the collection was conceptualised around the same time that the Parisian terrorist attacks took place, writers and critics found rich symbolism in the choice of location and its contrast with the Vetements pieces. From January 2017, however, Vetement will be producing only two collections a year, and will show both mens—and womenswear in a catwalk presentation two months earlier than the traditional start of the international fashion shows.