Real Talk: Why I Hated Vetements’ Epic Collab Collection

FLARE's Nancy Won on how the buzzy streetwear collective is buying into its own hype

When Vetements teamed up with literally* everyone on the planet for its spring ’17 runway show this past weekend, the fashion industry basically lost. its. shit. The collection—made up entirely of pieces produced in conjunction with 18 other brands—has been described as “genius,” “amazing,” “game-changing,” and “unprecedented.” Even an article by my colleague that ran on this very site proclaimed the collabo “f-cking eh!”

Vetements epic collaboration

Vetements x Alpha Industries. Photo: ImaxTree

Sorry, but I don’t get it.

Talk about blowing your load, jumping the shark and ruining all the brands all at once.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a fan of Vetements’ high-low streetwear bootlegging ways and I love the brands involved (Levi’s, Dr. Martens, Carhartt, Alpha Industries, Hanes, Schott) but IMO this mega-collab is just one big stunt.

Vetements epic collaboration

Vetements x Reebok. Photo: ImaxTree

The thing I love about iconic brands like Levi’s, Carhartt and Schott is that they are rooted in lifestyle, function, people and culture first. They’re bigger than fashion and they’re bigger than trends. That’s why they resonate. They represent a kind of realness that “fashion” often lacks. By collabing with all of these brands all at once, Gvasalia has essentially made them the next Vetememes, a fleeting fashion trend for the fashion flock.

Vetements epic collaboration

Vetements x Carhartt. Photo: ImaxTree

Demna Gvasalia told Cathy Horyn that he wanted to create clothes that were “100 percent authentic.” He’d been frustrated, he says, because he realized he could never make jeans that were as real or as OG as Levi’s. So, in order to be a classic, he aligned himself with the classics. Did he succeed? Jonathan Cheung, chief of design for Levi’s, said, “our ‘realness’ is what makes [Gvasalia’s] take on denim work.” And Schott’s Jason Schott admitted, “you won’t see me wearing any of these pieces.” Clearly these guys understand what this is: a marketing gimmick.

Vetements epic collaboration

Vetements x Levi’s. Photo: ImaxTree

The truth is, the collab is less about the actual clothes than it is about the hype. It doesn’t even matter what the collection looks like (spoiler alert: it looks exactly like every other Vetements collection). Once you see the list of brands, you’ve got the full picture. It’s basically Ocean’s Thirteen. Epic ensemble cast. No actual plot.

*not literally


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