Guram Gvasalia, cofounder and chief executive officer of the Zurich-based fashion house Vetements, is on a mission to help foster young talent.
In a talk with Miles Socha at WWD’s Apparel & Retail CEO Summit Wednesday morning at the InterContinental New York Barclay hotel, he spoke of creating a platform next year that will support young designers. His plans include setting up a coworking space within his company’s offices, traveling to schools to speak with students about the realities of working in the fashion industry and offering scholarships.
Emphasizing the importance of how success is a collective effort, Gvasalia addressed the misconception that a brand is defined by one talented designer. “Most of the time it’s probably not one person who is designing the brand. No, at the big brands, they have 60 people under the designer,” he said.
From his point of view what makes a brand involves putting everything together. “You need to have the designers, the developers — it’s a job that nobody really teaches about. But it is extremely important. There is hierarchy in my company that is more than a design job. It’s commercial people, financial people, the supply chain, warehousing, it’s the origins certificate, it’s the Customs people — there is so much that comes together to create the brand. It’s the deliveries, the window displays — it’s making everything work in the company. What we do is put the right people with the right talent together in groups, and we give them the possibility to create something that is new and does not already exist — something that is young, modern and cool,” Gvasalia said.
But in order to accomplish that the team ensures that the production team is in sync in executing the idea. If all goes according to plan, this platform will be introduced next year, Gvasalia said. The talent will not be owned by Vetements. Gvasalia said he and his team “will be like a big brother” looking out for the young talent and protecting them. (His own brother Demna stepped down from the company last month.)
In addition, Vetements will be growing the company in different directions. With a big ready-to-wear business, the plan is to start separate businesses around that such as ones for shoes, underwear and sunglasses that will each have their own distribution channels, Gvasalia said. “So you take your company and you create small companies around it,” he said.