It means “clothes” in French, and is pronounced “vet mon”.
When Georgian-born Demna Gvasalia – the leader behind Vetements – started the collective in 2014, he only had one ideal: to make real clothes that he and his close friends would wear, will wear and want to wear. Clothes like a trenchcoat that looks like it was accidentally shrunk in a dryer or came from the Salvation Army. XL-sized men’s shirts with too-long sleeves, or missing a sleeve, or with one side shorter than the other. Suits, a staple, with either the bagginess of a two-piece favoured by ’80s UK band Spandau Ballet or the uptight personality of a matronly schoolmaster. Denim jackets and jeans (again ’80s-cut), fighter pilot bombers, oversized Intro hoodies and sweats, and slogan tees. And boots (ankle or thighhigh, with or without platforms) – the standard footnote to almost every Vetements look.
Such pieces are utilitarian, even basic, but there is something intentionally off about them. Influenced by the outsider (not insider), street (not street style), blue-collar workwear and uniforms, and a lot of Margiela (Demna worked under the Antwerp great for three and a half years deconstructing clothes), the result is an it’s-so-bad-that-it’sgood attitude. Being off usually doesn’t inspire a mass following. Vetements has. And not just for its controversial DHL T-shirt earlier in January. In two years, the collective, which is not interested in the new (only new ways to make something old new again) or in fashion statements, and prefers ugly to beautiful, reality and practicality to trends, has anyone who is anyone – Rihanna, Rita Ora, Taylor Swift, It girls Alexa Chung, Yoyo Chao and Margaret Zhang, Sam Smith and Kanye West – wearing what Demna and his cohorts want them to wear
From left: Demna Gvasalia, the leader behind Vetements. The “expensive” DHL tee on blogger Margaret Zhang, the floral dress on Rihanna, and oversized sweats on Celine Dion.
The trademarks: hoodies, XL shirts and trenchcoats, and a whole lot of attitude. Vetements is sold at Club 21 Four Seasons.