Back in July, VETEMENTS revealed the then-hyped “secret project” that it had been teasing for a while – a new venture aiming to support emerging designers. At the same time, the brand also revealed its new name: VTMNTS – an off-shoot brand from the minds behind VETEMENTS. Since then, though, the brand has gone relatively quiet and updates on their debut collection have been minimal. So what happened to the once-hyped brand?
The Vetements wave of 2016 felt more like a movement than it did a trend. Heading up the hype was Kanye West, in that VETEMENTS hoodie, along with Lorde and Rihanna gracing the front rows of Paris Fashion Week kitted out in the brand. With a keen helping of the viral DHL line, along with a few controversies like Snoop Dogg calling out the price of a T-Shirt with his face on it, the brand reached new heights under Gvasalia, becoming one of the most talked about labels of the time.
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Fast forward to 2019, and it was announced that Gvasalia was exiting the industry-upending brand. Demna was to continue his role at Balenciaga, whilst also “pursuing new ventures.” The designer said that the goal he had in launching VETEMENTS, to change fashion “once and forever”, was complete: “So I feel that I have accomplished my mission of a conceptualist and design innovator at this exceptional brand and Vetements has matured into a company that can evolve its creative heritage into a new chapter on its own.”
Since Gvasalia’s shock exit, the company has definitely adapted, but questions remain as to whether this change was a brand evolution. Whilst being known for pioneering an oversized silhouette under Demna that has appeared everywhere since, later collaborations were criticised for taking on an increasingly menacing and hypocritical tone. For SS20, the brand staged a show against capitalism in Paris’ biggest McDonalds, which just missed the mark. Consumers pointed out the hypocrisy in selling anti-capitalist branded hoodies for US$1000, paraded amongst $2 burgers.
The recent rebrand to VTMNTS promised a new collection, dubbed ‘XXX’ which differed from the usual oversized silhouettes and favoured proportional cuts. As well as the collection, VTMNTS announced plans to offer mentorships, financial aid and various other beneficial initiatives as part of the new brand-stroke-collective. A main element of the label is a logo replaced with a barcode, in a subtle yet still subversive take on branding. VTMNTS is designed for all genders, whilst consciously expressing its outlook on sustainability with its lasting well-made garments to limit waste.
Set to be available in 100 top retailers worldwide, VTMNTS’ debut should stand as a highly successful brand launch. But is the reality slightly different? There has been almost no hype surrounding the release, and the brand has long peaked for many veteran fans. In the last week, we’ve seen Ye sporting his old VETEMENTS threads, putting in some work to reposition the brand to the forefront of consumers’ minds. However, these were Demna’s old designs. It begs the question – now VETEMENTS is VTMNTS… can it still be relevant?