Remember tongue-in-cheek copycat brand VETEMEMES? Well its founder, 23-year-old Brooklynite Davil Tran, is launching a new label: Boolenciaga. The Architecture & Planning graduate and self-proclaimed Grailed “God” found viral fame with VETEMEMES, a play on Demna Gvasalia’s Vetements, by releasing a raincoat similar to one sold by the high fashion house at a fraction of the cost.
“I wanted to start Boolenciaga because Vetements decided to do less oversized meme clothing, so it was only a matter of time,” Tran says via email. “I will continue (VETEMEMES) as long as I can. I absolutely love Demna and everything he does.”
Now, Tran plans to do the same with Balenciaga, a label Gvasalia also helms. After VETEMEMES was dreamt into existence, many figured it would be as short-lived as the “meme” it set out to be. A cease and desist would be enough to curb Tran’s fledgling DIY foray. Instead, Gvasalia told the New York Times that “Vetements will not be filing any lawsuits over the Vetememes raincoat and hope that he has enjoyed making his project as much as we do making our clothes.” He was in the clear.
But Tran could be tempting fate with his latest venture, as Balenciaga is a fierce protector of its brand and intellectual property, probably in a much scarier way than Vetements. “I'm a little worried,” Tran admits, “but I hope they can be understanding of my little project. I want to just have some fun and take the serious side out of fashion for a change.”
Previously, Balenciaga has sued Steve Madden on at least two occasions for copying its Lego heels in 2009 and its motorbike bag in 2014. That said, since Gvasalia took over as creative director, Balenciaga has come under fire for its tribute to IKEA’s beloved 99-cent FRAKTA bag, with a luxury version retailing for $2,145 USD.
Either way, Boolenciaga is fueling conversation about the brand, which is more than many competing labels’ PR teams can muster. Already, Boolenciaga caps are for sale on boolenciaga.com. They retail for $65 USD a pop. And Tran isn’t stopping there: “I have a few pieces planned,” he says, “but I don't want to reveal too much!”
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