Mar 4, 2016
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Vetements label's CEO wants to speed up the fashion calendar

Mar 4, 2016

At a time when the collections' rhythm is being questioned, Guram Gvasalia, the Georgian CEO of young label Vetements, a sensation at the Paris fashion weeks, pleaded for a calendar change and more 'rarity' in luxury fashion.

Vetements – Autumn/Winter 2015 - Womenswear – Paris - © PixelFormula

His older brother Demna is the lead designer for the brand, as well as the new Creative Director for Balenciaga. Demna's Autumn-Winter collection for Vetements, presented last Thursday evening, blends masculine and feminine models.

"This is closer to reality", explained Guram Gvasalia, 30, in an interview to the AFP agency. "Nowadays gender no longer exists. Man or woman, now we can choose who we want to be."

Vetements wishes to limit these mixed collections to two per year, instead of four: "Fashion designers need time, they need to rest and go out... People forget this, and ask them for more and more collections!"

"Major groups hire new designers then they spit them out, and hire new ones." "I'm worried about my brother, of course! He is a very creative individual, but pressure is strong and I don't want to force him to produce four collections for us, over and above those for Balenciaga," he said.

The Gvasalia family fled Georgia during the 1990s conflict and emigrated to Germany. Demna, 34, studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium, before working at Margiela and Louis Vuitton. Together with Guram, who studied economics, he launched Vetements, a designers' collective whose first collection was showcased in Paris in 2014.

Rihanna and Kanye West are fans 

The label soon had people talking about its oversize garments, blending work uniforms with a style inspired by streetwear and vintage, which seduced Rihanna and Kanye West. The US rapper-designer also recently tweeted he was going to 'steal Demna from Balenciaga.'

From next year, Vetements is planning to present its collections in January and June, in parallel with the menswear shows and the pre-collections, and not in March and September any longer, the traditional dates for the Paris women's ready-to-wear Fashion Weeks.

The brand's purpose is to prolong its collection's life in-store as much as possible before the end-of-season sales, which in the US start at the end of November on 'Black Friday'.

"We must ensure that people don't feel the inclination to wait for the sales to buy clothes," said Guram Gvasalia. He underlined how collections presented in March and delivered in the summer currently remain only 8 weeks on average in the stores, before the sales start.

The CEO is looking for supporters to move the Paris Fashion Week altogether, citing the example of Helmut Lang, who at the end of the 1990s managed to bring New York's forward.

He also criticised the industry's overproduction. "If items go on sale, it means too much of them have been produced! Rarity is what we need to make people yearn for something. This is the real definition of luxury," he said.

Vetements' policy, he explained, is the following: "We do not manufacture twice, we do not re-stock; once an item is sold out, it remains sold out."

A further step for the brand, in the next few years, will be to present its collections in synch with the seasons.

It is the 'see now, buy now' system, which the New York fashion industry is considering, while the French Fashion Federation - the Paris Fashion Week's organiser - and its Italian counterpart, are both opposed to, in the name of creativity.

"My proposal is to present spring-summer in January, deliver it in February, sell it until the end of August, and then sell the autumn-winter from 1st September until the end of February," said Guram Gvasalia.

However, he recognised that delivering in February implies producing the collection before it goes on show, and this is risky.

"People don’t want to wait any longer", explained the CEO, whose objective is to fight against imitations by ready-to-wear mass market brands which "deliver in less than three weeks."

By Anne-Laure Mondesert

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