In the midst of London Fashion Week, Russian-born designer Demna Gvasalia will have tongues wagging today (September 16, 2019) with news he’s stepping down from Vetements, a label he co-founded in 2014 with his brother Guram Gvasalia.
In statement provided to WWD, Demna Gvasalia wrote, “I started Vetements because I was bored of fashion and against all odds fashion did change once and forever since Vetements appeared and it also opened a new door for so many. 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.”
While stepping down from his role at Vetements, Demna Gvasalia will retain his position at French luxury label Balenciaga, which will show during Paris Fashion Week on September 29th.
While it’s hard to imagine how the edgy brand will retain its cache without Demna Gvasalia’s vision, his brother has stated the brand will plow ahead. “This moment signifies a new era for Vetements, an era of growth and major expansion. New projects and surprise collaborations are to be revealed in the very near future,” he stated.
Based in Zurich, the label revels in controversy and was known for setting silhouette trends like extra long sleeves and celebrating the unconventional. The label was among the first to eschew the seasonal fashion presentation schedule and often tapped everyday people with no connection to fashion to walk shows and shoot lookbooks.
Never afraid of excess, the label was invited to show as part of Paris haute couture week spring 2017 and presented a runway collection that included collaborations with 18 brands.
While many European labels have taken inspiration from U.S. streetwear, Vetements was among the few to successfully express through a European lens the cynicism and insiderism that’s made the genre an enduring one. At the same time, jokes get stale fast and maintaining excitement among fashion’s easily-bored boutique customer is challenging for any label that lacks the deep pockets of a global label.