In a statement posted to IG this afternoon, Demna Gvasalia addresses yesterday’s revealing Highsnobiety article
Yesterday, Highsnobiety published an article in which a series of unnamed retailers and anonymous industry insiders called into question the profitability of Demna Gvasalia’s Vetements label. Those commenting spoke of a slump in sales, heavily discounted collections that just aren’t selling, and a lack of interest from a once ferocious fanbase who have grown disillusioned with the brand’s sky-high prices and are no longer willing to pay £100 for a pair of socks or upwards of £750 for a hoodie.
Now, CEO Guram Gvasalia has responded with a statement that suggests the contrary, calling the article ‘fake news’. “To the disappointment of all the haters, we would like to declare that Vetements is in the strongest creative and financial state it has ever been,” he told WWD. “We are definitely not going out of business and the speculations about our sales figures are not only false and defamatory in its nature, but also simply ridiculous.”
Demna Gvasalia also responded to the article by way of a post on the brand’s Instagram account, calling it out as “wannabe journalism based on lies and gossip” and stating that his team at the Zurich-based brand is the “strongest it has ever been.”
Elsewhere in the Highsnobiety article, a former employee claimed that “the (AW18) collection wasn’t very creative, it was a lot of carry-overs and the buyers knew that”, while a member of the current team reportedly told an Asian retailer who carries the brand that “all the best designs were sent to Balenciaga. It seems like all the second grade designs are left behind at Vetements.”
However buyers including Jeffrey Kalinsky, owner of retailer Jeffrey New York, contradicted this with claims he was selling “$350,000 to $450,000 worth of Vetements products per year,” telling WWD that “sell-throughs at full price are what determines if you go forward with a brand, and we’ve been very happy with how it’s been selling.” With that said, though, it's in the buyer's best interests to say the brand is doing well.
Since Guram Gvasalia’s statement was published on WWD earlier today, Highsnobiety has also provided the publication with a response that serves only to emphasise the sentiment of their original article. “While it's impossible to quantify street cred, we have noticed a sharp decline in Vetements in our global street style coverage, and the buyers we spoke to, many of whom work at smaller, independent retailers, often rely on a brand's strength to help curate their offer, and cater especially to the type of discerning consumer we speak to,” the publication said. “The moment a brand like Vetements ends up in larger, more mainstream retailers, it's a hit to their perceived authenticity. While Vetements is far from dead, to many in the industry — especially the selective market we cater to — it is 'over.'”
Gvasalia finished his IG post by rejecting the idea that Vetements’ success was based on anything other than its designs. “Focus is, was, and always will be on the customer who wears it. Fashion is not about hype, nor about useless gossip, or opportunistic journalism. Fashion is about clothes. So is Vetements.” While we’re not entirely sure that hype didn’t play a small (okay, large) part in the brand’s success, Gvasalia can be credited with radically shaking up the fashion landscape in just two short years, and with that in mind it’s likely Vetements has at least a little life in it yet.