have reports of vetements’ death been greatly exaggerated?
Death, fake news and definitions of cool. In this week’s episode of i-D’s fashion podcast, Fash-ON Fash-OFF, we’ll be discussing the Highsnobiety article that made Vetements bluer than Walmart Yodel Boy.
Photography Mitchell Sams
Alright, some background. In a piece on i-D in 2016, current fashion critic at British Vogue, Anders Christian Madsen wrote:
“The breakthrough of Vetements in 2015 represented a bright new light in a fashion industry often too focused on the establishment. Even experimental London had become gentrified -- not on purpose, but because the young designers, who created the city's new fashion scene around 2005 had grown up and started real businesses -- real brands … We were dying for something new: something authentic, which wasn't pretentious or snobby or wanky, but inclusive and exciting -- and still intelligent. And although Vetements came with more than a few nods to the legacy of Martin Margiela, which some would argue contradicts said authenticity, its arrival served as our latest Second Coming; a kind of saviour in a time of despair.”
Initially based in a four-storey building in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, the brand has since moved to Switzerland. Not for tax reasons, you cynical bunch, but because it saw the city as a “clean slate”. Obviously.
Outwardly all seemed to be well. The brand continued to attract both headlines and plaudits. It retired its runway show, only to revive its runway show to much success. “The air of global fellowship and multi-everything that surrounds the brand is symptomatic of a new generation of fashion consumers,” wrote Anders on i-D. Put simply, the brand was cool.
So, last Friday, lifestyle news site Highsnobiety published an article titled, 2 Years After They Broke the Internet, It Looks Like Nobody is Buying Vetements.
Highsnobiety claimed to have spoken to “a variety of sources in the American, European and Asian markets -- buyers from retailers stocking the brand, a former Vetements employee and a sales associate from a luxury department store that carries the label”. The picture they painted was of a brand is on its way out, “with sales slumping and customers uninterested”.
In response, the brand’s founder and head designer, Demna Gvasalia, released an official statement via Instagram which read:
So what exactly is going on? Is this just opportunistic pseudo journalism? Or was it all just a beautiful dream?
In this week’s episode of Fash-ON Fash-OFF, we’re talking everything Vetements. We’ll be discussing the article that made the brand bluer than Walmart Yodel Boy. We’ll be attempting to figure out whether rumours of its death have been greatly exaggerated. And we’ll discussing what’s next for the label in this cut-throat business that we call fashion.
Today I’m joined by i-D Fashion Features Editor Steve Salter, i-D Junior Fashion Editor Bojana Kozarevic and i-D Contributing Editor Douglas Greenwood.