On Friday, 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 label presented its first collection back in 2014, it's 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 style star’s wardrobe, to the tongue-in-cheek reworking of DHL logos and its recent relocation from Paris to Zurich, the industry has been constantly captivated by Vetements’ moves.
Gvasalia told Vogue that, rather than trundle along the expensive and repetitive conveyor belt of runway shows, it's embracing slowness and purposefulness. “I got bored," he said. "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 explained. 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? Gvasalia himself has said he’d “rather go on holiday” than “go and buy” his own designs. Now, he’s denouncing his own aesthetic: Just this week, he told WWD that “Eastern Europe is over for me,” and that he wants 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 $200 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, Gvasalia refuses to play by traditional rules, 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," he said. "No more oversize hoodies any more! We’re independent. We can do what we choose. That’s the beauty of Vetements.”
And whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying the frenzy it’s created in the industry – a genuine approach, or a clever marketing tool? Either way, all eyes are on Zurich anxiously awaiting the next big Gvasalia surprise.