Vetements has launched a new genderless brand with an ambitious manifesto that talks about “revolution” and redefining traditional luxury for the next generation. But for a label that aims to be disruptive, the name is curiously familiar and phonetically indistinguishable from its parent: Vtmnts.
“It’s an entirely separate entity that is only connected to the main project by sharing certain resources and know-how,” the Zurich-based house said in a statement that may or may not dispel speculation that Vetements is seeking to overcome obstacles in registering its trademark in certain markets, including the U.S.
“The name of the brand is chosen closely on purpose to show that it’s not about the name, but about the clothes you make,” the label said. “Obviously, we want the final consumer to know the roots of Vtmnts, as it’s important to be proud of where you are coming from.”
Let’s take it at face value. Guram Gvasalia, cofounder and chief executive officer of Vetements, has said he wants to challenge the dominance of luxury conglomerates by creating a multidimensional platform for young talent. Dubbed the Gvasalia Family Foundation, it will provide mentoring, technical development, production, supply chain, distribution and financial support.
Vtmnts marks the project’s kickoff. In the collection notes for its inaugural spring 2022 collection, which consists of 100 looks photographed in the style of a police lineup, the label — which has no official creative director — said young brands were too reliant on fashion prize competitions or celebrity figureheads, and usually have short lifespans.
“Young brands are allowed to be there, for the sake of it, but are getting the crumbs that fall from the master’s tables. This is why we decided to start a little revolution and launch brands that are going to play a new game and play this game by new rules,” it said.
Rooted in men’s wear, Vtmnts is aimed at a discerning younger customer with an emphasis on timeless luxury. Whereas Vetements, founded in 2014, and its designing cofounder Demna Gvasalia, are widely credited with sparking the streetwear trend in fashion, this offering is a little more quiet.
Tailored pants, in traditional camel or gray pin-striped fabric, anchored many of the looks, though the tops varied wildly, ranging from normcore-style intarsia sweaters to colorful sleeveless turtlenecks with matching evening gloves. Many featured a barcode with the number 83 836 36 87.
The brand said it was a signature element “that will only be recognized by those who know” and criticized historic fashion houses for “ruining their designs putting logos that were graphically meant for inside labels and not to be put on the garments.” Instead, it plastered many looks with a varsity-style Vtmnts graphic, a distinction that seems moot.
Stylistically, the collection cast a wide net, ranging from suits and tailored coats to tracksuits, which came with puffy nylon jackets or oversized bottoms with side snap buttons.
If an outfit consisting of stonewashed jeans, a “Back to the Future” hoodie and shoes that alternately spelled “F—“ and “Off” might look familiar to Vetements fans, there was a more pronounced gender fluidity to this line. “I kissed a boy and I liked it…” read a tomato red T-shirt worn by a male model. “They/Them,” read another.
Potentially flagging high price tags, Vtmnts said the clothes were made to a high-quality standard, with the aim of lasting for years. “Our goal is to give the young, cool generation the same quality feeling that Hermès gives their sophisticated clientele,” it said. For instance, its sunglasses are made out of solid white and yellow gold, the label noted.
In the absence of a physical presentation, the proof will come once the clothes are delivered in stores. Even if Vtmnts does distinguish itself in the quality stakes, it felt like the brand was trying to tick a lot of boxes at once. No doubt, the coming seasons will allow it to carve out a clearer identity.