Vetements... Emperor's new clothes?
07/03/17Vetements - madness or absolute genius?
Known for their subversive street-style, they have divided the fash-pack down the middle with their incredibly expensive take on sportswear and homage to the Ordinary Person. But first - who are Vetements?
The Paris-based fashion label first appeared on the scene in 2014 with an under-the-radar collection shot in designer Demna Gvasalia's apartment. In the three years since, the brand has been catapulted into superstardom, even showing bridalwear in their A/W 2017 collection. It all kicked off for Vetements in January 2016 when they put out a t-shirt in homage to delivery company DHL which sold like hot cakes (Mmmm, now I really want a cake) despite the £185 price tag. If you fancy looking like a delivery driver but don't have a spare £185, you can buy one on eBay for £6.88. There's no discernable difference except that one costs less than a pizza.
This season, it's all about 'everyman' - the social worker, the emo goth, the 'Dad' and even the chav. Sports/workwear, namely the tracksuit (on a personal note I can't stand tracksuits. As a lover of style I see them as a cop-out and akin to wearing pyjamas) and several iconic brands including Champion, Juicy Couture (remember *those* velour two-pieces with 'Juicy' written right across the bum?) and Carhart have been given the Vetements treatment. The sleeves of the Champion top may be longer, the hoods may be more voluminous, but to the untrained eye (which, less face it, is most), they look like something you'd find at Sports Direct.
This is where the comparison ends. A pair of Vetements Champion tracksuit bottoms will set you back a cool £500 whereas an almost identical pair on the high street cost around £24.99.
On one hand I do understand why people want to buy into Vetements. It's an elite club where members recognise each other by the cut of their seams - but it's not a club I want any part of. For starters if I'm going to spend £500 on a top I'd like it to look like it cost me £500, not £19.99. Vetements are absolute geniuses for peddling 'regular clothes' worn by everyday people at prices that could rival the third-world debt and for provoking debates about the politics of fashion. They are art, they are punk. And well, if people DO want to drop the equivalent to a two-week holiday in the Maldives on a tracksuit or a pair of cords that look like they were bought in BHS (god rest its soul), good luck to them. It's Vetements who are having the last laugh... whilst wearing their 'ironic' hoodies and Chav lounge pants.