It’s ironic that what was once considered one of the most disruptive brands in fashion was started by a student of one of its most prestigious schools. Demna Gvasalia graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp in 2006, the same school that Maison Margiela and the Antwerp Six attended. In 2009, Gvasalia began working as a womenswear designer at Maison Margiela. In 2012, he left Margiela to be a senior designer at Louis Vuitton. After five years of working at two of the most prestigious brands in fashion, Demna Gvasalia felt he had the tools necessary to start his own label. Teaming up with his brother Guram—who tapped his business acumen to become the CEO of their company—the two started Vetements.
Vetements released its first collection in the fall of 2014. Although Gvasalia was well acquainted with numerous buyers, they were reluctant to place orders for the virtually unknown brand. For the Vetements Fall/Winter 2015 show, the decision was made to show the collection at Paris’ Le Dépôt sex club, a bold move that caught the attention of many. The brand broke through to the mainstream with its Spring/Summer 2016 collection. The oversized cuts, extended sleeves and exaggerated modified construction of pieces would quickly become brand signatures. What truly established Vetements as disruptors in the eyes of the fashion elite was its use of unfashion brands like Champion, DHL and the film Titanic. The DHL tee was notably modeled by Russian fashion designer Gosha Rubchinskiy during the runway show and became the piece of the summer, further establishing Vetements presence.
The irregular practices don’t stop there. Vetements CEO Guram Gvasalia has gone on record with the various measures the brand takes to maintain the allure of luxury and scarcity. In addition to the high prices most would deem prohibitive, Vetements set a maximum (as opposed to a minimum) on the orders buyers can place. Vetements’ plan worked perfectly; the more it closed itself off, the more everyone wanted a piece, including collaborators like Reebok and Umbro.
Demna Gvasalia left Vetements in 2019 to focus on other responsibilities as creative head of Balenciaga, but the brand and its tongue-in-cheek graphics carry on.
What is the meaning of “Vetements”?
Vetements is French for “clothes”.
Where is Vetements based?
Vetements is based in Zürich, Switzerland.
Who started Vetements?
Vetements was founded by a collective, headed up by Guram and Demna Gvasalia.