Vetememes

Vetememes


Ever wonder why people obsess over Vetements? FAC tries to explain the Streetwear Kings
 Demna Gvasalia

Demna Gvasalia

Demna Gvasalia, founder of VETEMENTS and Creative Director at Balenciaga is currently doing something special in fashion; putting the internet on the runway. Today’s pop culture revolves around social media and the ‘meme generation’, those who live their days on the internet browsing blogs and their social media profiles. Gvasalia has seen the opportunity in this and looking at his latest shows in Paris, for both brands, the influence of the internet is apparent and he has somehow managed to combine it with uncompromising design.

 Dr. Martens x vetements. image courtesy http://billionnews.ru

Dr. Martens x vetements. image courtesy http://billionnews.ru

Gvasalia is not a newcomer to the fashion world, having led design teams at Maison Margiela and Louis Vuitton before starting up his own label, VETEMENTS in 2014. VETEMENTS is a streetwear brand geared towards creating ‘hype’ and Gvasalia does this in almost a way that mocks popular fashion culture. By releasing collaborations regularly with brands that are both culturally historic such as their recent collection with Dr. Martens and brands that are highly sought after by today’s youth such as Canadian Goose; VETEMENTS plays the part of linking the divides and cultural cliques we see in today’s youth culture and then reselling it back to them under one banner. We see this on Instagram everyday; people who wouldn’t normally socialise together due to their appearance are now linking and liking these collaborations. Gvasalia releases these collaborations almost as a ‘fuck you!’ to these social cliques – those who ostricise themselves from other groups cause they dress differently so therefore ‘we won’t get along with them’. This is not a new problem and has been around ever since the rise of youth culture in the 1950’s.

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Yet in today’s world: internet blogs and social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest have further increased the divide in youth groups; individuals who listen to a certain music dress a certain way (YEEZY Season for example) or those who associate themselves with a certain time frame in history (Mods and Punks), or a certain culture (skaters) or even those who ‘street style’ - combining high street trends with hype brands and limited collections all fall under this cloud of a ‘Meme Generation’ without even being aware of it.

 Kanye west during the vetements show in Paris. image courtesy of http://www.acrossthefader.net

Kanye west during the vetements show in Paris. image courtesy of http://www.acrossthefader.net

Yet in today’s world: internet blogs and social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest have further increased the divide in youth groups; individuals who listen to a certain music dress a certain way (YEEZY Season for example) or those who associate themselves with a certain time frame in history (Mods and Punks), or a certain culture (skaters) or even those who ‘street style’ - combining high street trends with hype brands and limited collections all fall under this cloud of a ‘Meme Generation’ without even being aware of it.

 'what is a hoodie?' by vetements. image courtesy of https://cdn.vox-cdn.com

'what is a hoodie?' by vetements. image courtesy of https://cdn.vox-cdn.com

VETEMENTS or ‘Clothing’ is an idea that recognizes this and puts them all under one banner and is essentially making a joke of modern popular culture; showing that in a world where everything is at our fingertips we still all fall under an overlying heading and are just trying to fit in. Yet aside from their collaborations, which are aimed at uniting youth culture; VETEMENTS constructs runway shows that are aimed at embracing the ‘freaks’ of society: those who stand out to Gvasalia and don’t aim to be a part of the above mentioned ‘meme generation’ and how collectively through their ‘individuality’ create their own cultural sect which he then exhibits. VETEMENT’s shows use models that not conventional and are styled in a shabby way. Their designs are oversized and boxy to show how surreal these people are, and how if you saw similarly dressed people on the street you would be just as shocked as the critics that are sitting at the shows. Gvasalia seems to be inspired by these people, using ones who wouldn’t normally even get a second look from the majority of society or ones who would be deemed unfashionable as his muses because they don’t follow these internet trends or don’t connect to a certain cultural offshoot.

This same mentality is now being employed with Balenciaga; a couture brand that normally was associated with phenomenal design, amazing silhouettes and high standards of tailoring. Gvasalia is creating collections for Balenciaga that are making social comments while pursuing the craftsmanship that is befitting of a couture brand. With his latest collection aimed at showcasing the corporate and office workers who supported Bernie Sanders in his recent election. Essentially the group of American society who go to their daily jobs and give little regard to their choice of work clothing or are not that concerned with looking ‘professional’ while working their 9-5 office number. The styling of the models demonstrates this and their attitude does too. They don’t seem to care and walk the runway as disillusioned as the people they are attempting to recreate. Gvasalia and his favoured stylist, Lotta Volkova do an excellent job at portraying this group of society and the shows have so far gained credibility due to this.

 Balenciaga F/W 2017. image courtesy of https://hypefreshmag.com

Balenciaga F/W 2017. image courtesy of https://hypefreshmag.com

These two brands are ones that are currently held in high regard both by the fashion world and the ever growing ‘meme generation’, that are dressing themselves based off their preferred blogs and social media sites. I am interested to see how long this high standing lasts however; as like fashion, the internet is forever evolving and as ‘what’s in’ or ‘cool’ variates a lot sooner nowadays than previously, how will the ideas of Demna Gvasalia evolve with this rapid change or will VETEMENTS and his direction for Balenciaga become a mockery within themselves in the near future?


Adam Nolan-Horan
16 August 2017

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