Unveiled today, Vetements is taking over four Harrods windows to create awareness around the corporate overproduction the brand’s co-founder Guram Gvasalia says is destroying fashion and its surrounding world.
TRUST Vetements and the brand’s cultish cool to tackle the touchy subject of overproduction heads on. Launching today, four of Harrods’ store windows on Brompton Road will be dedicated to the Swiss label’s call for action. “We have the luxury of being a young, independent brand, which has the opportunity to speak out without being afraid of powerful backers,” its CEO Guram Gvasalia says over coffee in the suite of his Mayfair hotel. “The problem with sustainability today is that people look at it from the wrong perspective. Yes, where you produce and how you produce is super important. But what people are overseeing is something that’s right in front of our eyes: it’s about how much brands produce and how much consumers buy,” the 31-year-old brother of Vetements’ creative director Demna Gvasalia argues. “Since my first-ever interview I’ve been saying this: the basic thing of economics is the supply meeting demand. If you go to a shop and you see something on sale, it means it’s been overproduced.”
Over the past year, Vetements has been highlighting issues of overconsumption, staging waste-focused events at Maxfield in Los Angeles, Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, and Browns East in London. “But in this age, doing something once or twice isn’t enough. Our phone screens refresh so quickly that our attention spans have shrunk,” Gvasalia quips. He’s devoted the next twelve months to shining a light on the issue of overproduction with plans of fifty events worldwide starting with the windows at Harrods. Unveiled to the public this morning, they feature stockpile installations of clothes donated by Harrods’ four-thousand employees as well as original Parisian donation bins for charity, a regular occurrence on Instagram due to the “Vetements” logo featured on their fronts (simply meaning ‘clothes’). Throughout February, Harrods’ customers are invited to donate their own garments, the proceeds of which go to the NSPPC.
Gvaslia, who has been working on the projects for over a year, says he approached all the big fashion brands asking them to donate their stock. “Nobody wanted to take part. Not a single brand; really huge corporations. Everyone is afraid of admitting that they make more clothes than they can sell.” He spends his year travelling the world, trawling through department stores and boutiques, analysing the stock on display at various points of the season. “I find it particularly hard travelling in the United States during the sale, seeing all these luxury items on extreme discount,” he says. “There are mountains and mountains of clothes that were overproduced. Part of it is sold with huge markdowns, but what’s left becomes dead-stock. Statistically, thirty percent of what brands produce ends up in landfills. Garbage.”
What needs to change, Gvasalia explains, is the pride of the biggest companies in fashion, whose reported gross turnovers can only increase if they sell more merchandise. “At the end of the day, you only have a certain amount of people, who are actually willing to buy your clothes. No matter what you do, this number is limited. So instead, they have their own stores that they force their merchandise upon, just so they can increase their numbers.” In other words, the annual figures reported in designer interviews and reviews shouldn’t always be taken for granted. Nor should they necessarily be a source of pride. “For brands to become more sustainable today, they need to do one simple thing: have their supply meet their demand. It’s like throwing away food in a world full of hunger. Our planet is sick because of us, because we want more and more and more, without thinking of generations to come,” he reflects. And it goes for the customer, too. “Try to think, ‘Do I need all these clothes?’”
Gvasalia isn’t a big shopper himself. On this day – as any – he’s clad in his trusty uniform of all-blacks: jeans, a T-shirt and a hoodie. His wardrobe can be counted on a few hands, and whenever he acquires a new item of clothing he donates an old one to a relative. Asked if he publicises Vetements’ turnovers he rolls his eyes. “Of course not. It’s not the main goal. The goal is to create amazing clothes for people who want to buy them.” How do he and his designer brother take responsibility, then? “First of all we don’t have our own stores. Secondly, we don’t push stores with minimums. We’ve started to limit quantities,” Gvasalia says, admitting he sometimes puts a stop to buyers when they try to buy stock beyond their customer demand. “Of course, there are buyers that are amazing. Natalie Kingham bought 250 of our unicorn hoodies,” he says, referring to the buying director of MatchesFashion.com, “and they were gone in a day. But some buyers put debts on pieces that are just insane.”
What of all those coveted, perpetually sold-out it-items we hear about, then? “What brands do – which is very smart – is to limit the online stores, giving one store maybe forty pairs of the hottest sneaker. So of course it sells out,” Gvasalia explains. “I sold four-thousand pairs of sneakers on Ssense.com in four days, but this is not my goal anymore. It breeds greed. I’m not chasing numbers. I don’t need my company to be worth a billion. You can make money like that much more easily outside of fashion.” It’s perhaps an easy thing to say for the owner of a brand like Vetements, which sky-rocketed in sales just a year into their existence, in 2014, shifting hoodies at £600 and denim trousers – sustainably made out of recycled jeans, by the way – at £1200. “Our stuff is expensive because it’s limited,” Gvasalia asserts. “But then people go and buy the high street items that look like our work. I want to tell people: buy less, buy quality and buy long term.”
Last year, Vetements relocated their studios from Paris to Zurich in a move interpreted by some as tax conscious. Gvasalia begs to differ. “We moved the company to Switzerland because I wanted to protect myself from an industry I feel is toxic and wrong. I don’t want to be distracted by the wrong business strategies. I moved the company because I wanted to be left alone in a world where we can operate without distractions.” So there. Vetements, of course, stills show in Paris, like in January when the brothers borrowed an old flea market free of charge and invited guests to watch the show – styled in copious layers as a reflection of overconsumption – from market chairs already in place. “My show was completely sustainable,” Gvasalia nods. He says his commendable outlook is the result of age, of running a growing business, but also rooted in a childhood of extremes
In the early 1990s, the brothers and their family fled their native Abkhazia amidst the Georgian civil war. “When you see stuff as six years old that I don’t even want to share as public knowledge, you start to appreciate life. You start to understand that if you have to cancel a T-shirt because of a minimum, you don’t have to care. It’s not the end of the world,” Gvasalia says, raising his eyebrows. “I appreciate life because I know that things can change in one second.”
As the menswear collections shifted to the Milanese streets, so did a cacophony of textures with plush cords and muted tweeds electrified by flashes of Gucci and sunshine brights. Retro florals mingled with suited silhouettes, sharpened by trademark fine Italian tailoring. Naturally, the plummeting temperatures continued to bolster the Milan fashion crowd’s style credentials. Take notes for your winter wardrobe with Vogue‘s edit of the best street style from the Milan Fashion Week Men’s shows.
When Tess Holliday has something to say, she lets the world know. The Mississippi-bred model has made headlines for speaking up regularly about issues related to feminism, body acceptance, and motherhood. In doing so Holliday has become one of modeling’s most outspoken women. Whether she’s voicing solidarity with the #MeToo movement on Twitter or using her Instagram to decry fat-shaming, Holliday has been a vocal advocate for the issues she considers vital. Her latest crusade—about the lack of different body types on the runway—hits close to home. “One thing I think constantly is if brands like Gucci can make plus-size menswear, then why can’t we see it for women?” Holliday asked during a visit to the Vogue offices. “I want to break into high fashion because you have plus-size celebrities, you have the consumers, and yet we’re not seeing a reflection of [that] reality. Even broaching the subject can make people [get] up in arms.”
The role of trailblazer suits Holliday. At just 5-foot-3 and a size 22, she is an anomaly within the world of modeling. Petite and soft-spoken in person, she styles her hair in Rita Hayworth waves. Tattoos reveal her pop-culture idols: Dolly Parton is etched onto her forearm, Hello Kitty peeks out from her right calf. In person, Holliday comes across as sweet yet determined—a quality that has served her well over the years. Her evolution from unknown to star wouldn’t have happened if she had accepted the conventional advice. Inspired to give the business a try at the age of 15 after seeing images of plus-size supermodel Emme, Holliday was initially turned away by scouts at a casting call in Atlanta who informed her that a career would be all but impossible. “I got rejected because of my height and my weight,” she said. But that “just made me push harder.”
Giving modeling a second try at the age of 24 after a move to Los Angeles, Holliday found her footing once she tapped into the power of social media. Garnering national attention after creating the viral hashtag #effyourbeautystandards back in 2013, she encouraged women of all sizes to reject regressive ideals, a move that pushed her modeling career into the spotlight. After signing with Milk Model Management, home to crossover stars like Sabina Karlsson and Robyn Lawley, she started getting the kind of recognition few models of any kind receive. With 1.5 million followers on Instagram, covers of mainstream publications like People, and work for mall mainstays like H&M, Holliday’s image is possibly more familiar to some consumers than that of the average runway star.
2017 was a banner year for Holliday. She released a best-selling memoir, The Not So Subtle Art of Being A Fat Girl; launched a sold-out collection with retailer Eloquii; and landed a beauty contract. Not content to rest on her laurels, Holliday has high hopes for this year. “I feel like now is the time to shake things up. I’d like to be the person who changes things, or at least open doors for others.”
Photo: Nick Holliday
Though recent years have seen an uptick in the prominence of models that are larger than sample size, few jobs exist for those who do fit into a certain mold—even in categories where size should not be a concern. “It was interesting for me to step into beauty,” says Holliday who shot her first campaign with hair-care label Sebastian late last year. “For so long advertising hasn’t been inclusive when it comes to plus sizes which is crazy to me. Hair and makeup are things used by everyone—it doesn’t make any sense.” The lack of available bookings carries over into fashion week, where in spite of the strides made by women like Ashley Graham and Candice Huffine, opportunities are still rare. “It’s great to see size 14’s on the runway and it’s a big change, but the majority of women in the U.S. are a 16—where is the representation for them?” says Holliday, who for many years considered runway work a pipe dream. “For a long time I kind of said that it was not something I wanted to do. I understand that I’m short, big, and tattooed, but after doing a couple of runway shows [last] year, my outlook changed—it was exhilarating.”
One milestone was her debut during London Fashion Week at plus-size label Simply Be’s collection, which has whet her appetite for working with serious designers. “I want to do more high fashion [in general], to be in magazines wearing luxury designers,” says Holliday. “It’s time to see someone of my size represented and I’ve done everything else!”
With NYFW on the horizon, her presence could provide New York’s runways with some much-needed size diversity, but for Holliday the conversation only moves forward when designers who feature non-sample size models within their shows also expand their size range for consumers. “Why would I want to walk the runway for a brand to be their token plus-size girl when they’re not even making my size?” says Holliday. “When these big brands that have so much influence start making plus sizes, then 100 percent call me because then it shows that they care and that they’re actually invested.”
Such confidence comes from Holliday’s fan base. She is routinely inundated by letters, tweets, and DMs. After the publication of her book, she received thousands of messages from women sharing their own frustrations with body image and fashion. “I had one woman write me and say that reading the book made her realize that her partner was abusive and she left because she wanted better for her life,” she said. “Messages like that meant a lot to me.” As she now prepares to take her story to television with an as-yet-untitled reality show set to debut later this year, Holliday hopes that she can continue to make an impact. “I went in wanting to show who I am in my life and not just the part that people think is glamorous,” she says. “I can’t talk much about it yet, but I’m hoping that it will influence people in a positive way.”
Catwalk revival of old styles immortalised by Hollywood stars sees surge in jeans market
The jeans market is booming again as the US turns back the clock to denim’s glory days. 2017 saw the largest year-on-year growth in the sector since 2013, pulling in over $95bn (£67bn) worldwide compared with $91bn the previous year while sales of premium designer jeans doubled its growth.
Observers believe shoppers are deciding to try other styles beyond the skinny silhouette that has been so popular for more than a decade. This season styles hark back to authentic American selvedge denim and come straight-legged, stiff and in a deep indigo hue.
The trend began last year on the Calvin Klein catwalk, when designer Raf Simons paired dark indigo jeans with a matching shirt for his influential debut collection for the brand. For spring/summer 2018, a host of other designers joined the fray, showing not just indigo jeans but indigo denim in general. At Tom Ford, dark denim materialised in a sharp blazer with pointed shoulders and high-waisted, wide-legged jeans. At MaxMara, a buttoned-up boiler suit came with selvedge-style turn-ups. At Versus Versace there were tonal jackets and knee-skimming skirts.
The impact of the trend is already being felt on the high street. Asos reported sales of jeans were up 58% this week, compared with the same period last year, while denim dressing at the e-tailer was up 81% from 2017.
Celia Cuthbert, the head of buying at Asos, said that “authentic dark, raw and untreated indigo” was its biggest denim trend this season, and that while its customers still loved slim and skinny jeans, the brand was “seeing more and more sales coming through from wider-leg silhouettes and straight legs”.
This look, similar to that immortalised by Marilyn Monroe in 1961’s The Misfits and Martin Sheen in 1973’s Badlands, evokes a glory time in American history when the US was the leading purveyor of denim worldwide.
An aggressive synth soundtrack accompanied scowling models in world’s oldest antiques market
Imagine a fashion show in Paris, and you probably wouldn’t come up with a sea of scowling models stomping between stalls in a flea market while an aggressive synth soundtrack boomed.
That was the set up for Vetements’ autumn/winter 2018 show at the world’s oldest antiques market, Paul Bert Serpette, in the Saint-Ouen district of the French capital.
In only a few years, Vetements has risen from obscurity to become one of the most influential labels in fashion, producing witty visual jokes that appeal to the internet’s sharing economy, such as the infamous £185 DHL T-shirt that became the fashion hit of summer 2016.
This time there was no single logo to home in on. This was a show designed to raise the heart rate – and not just with the music, as models pelted down the catwalk in clusters, presenting so many clothes in so many clashing charity-shop patterns that it was difficult to know where to look.
It began with Vetements’ stylist and catwalk regular Lotta Volkova wearing rich-lady sunglasses and an inside-out gilet. She also wore a glamorous headscarf, as did a good number of the models, often with baseball caps peeking out of the front.
There were surly slogans on T-shirts – from “I don’t care, thanks” to “I’m not deaf, I’m just ignoring you” – and a range of prints across garments, from camouflage trousers to Marilyn Manson shorts to patent boots bearing designs of postcards of Zurich, the city where fashion nerds will be aware that Vetements has recently moved.
As the source of so many recent crazes in fashion, from logo socks to “ugly chic” trainers to haute hoodies and frayed-hem jeans, trend watchers would have been paying close attention. Judging by the footwear, the next big thing may well be thick-soled Buffalo Boot-style boot-trainer hybrids that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Camden market in 1996.
Hair color chameleon Blac Chyna has switched up her look yet again for an impromptu photoshoot in her own home.
The star is known to experiment with the boldest hair hues — even rainbow! — so it’s not surprising that only a few days into 2018, she’s giving baby pink a go. Chyna posed for a sultry photoshoot in her kitchen (because why not?) wearing a plunging, cleavage-revealing Fashion Nova dress and her millennial pink mane.
She didn’t keep the trendy hair color for long though. Soon after Chyna shared her sexy photos on Instagram, she posted another wearing a patterned bodycon Fashion Nova mini. But this time, she opted for a platinum blonde wig instead.
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Although her hairstyles don’t stay with her for long, Chyna’s lawsuit drama with the Kardashian family is continuing to follow her into the new year.
In October, Chyna filed a lawsuit against Rob Kardashian (the father of her 13-month-old daughter Dream) and his family alleging that he was damaging her brand and verbally and physically abusing her. But the Kardashians are fighting back.
Last week, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Rob’s attorneys filed a “demurrer” objecting to and asking for a dismissal of Chyna’s lawsuit against them, in which the mother of two claimed the Kardashians were responsible for E! not moving forward with the planned second season of Rob & Chyna.
Soon after, court documents also revealed that Rob is denying all assault claimsalleged by Chyna, including that he grabbed “phone from her hand and violently knocked her to the ground where she landed on her hands and knees” and ransacked her closet. However, according to Rob’s statement, “She did not suffer any injury or harm as a result of any conduct by [Kardashian].”
Henry Holland, recently nominated by the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Awards for Best Emerging Menswear Designer, is set to merge his signature eclectic aesthetic with a selection of classic Ben Sherman silhouettes.
The 29-piece unisex capsule collection will feature button-down shirts, knitted polos, T-shirts, jackets, knitwear, denim, trousers, tracksuits and coats and will debut at Ben Sherman’s runway show on Saturday January 6.
2. OiBoy bringing some South London satire to the schedule
The exciting young Brit label putting a sardonic spin on some of the country’s best loved brands is set to debut a
t the BFC’s Designer Showrooms – a space on the show calendar reserved for emerging designers who’ve been in business at least three years.
By humorously tweaking everyday logos and brand slogans, Oiboi create instantly collectible garments that, much like Demna Gvasalia’s DHL T-shirt for vetements, are sure to fly off the shelves. Watch this space.
Pixie Lott’s model fiancé was scouted at 15, whisked off to New York and became an overnight success as the face of Calvin Klein. Since then he’s starred in campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana, Vivienne Westwood, Missoni and Paul Smith as well as Marks and Spencer, Gap and Superdry. Now 29, the chiselled young Brit is a FROW regular with a growing following and impeccable off-duty style. He’s tipped to be the new Gandy – you heard it here first.
Misara Yasuhiro is a man with his finger firmly on the pulse. His eponymous ready-to-wear line has shown at London Fashion Week Men’s for nearly a decade and now his streetwear label, MYNE, is to be added to the BFC Designer Showrooms roster.
Debuting its seventh collection, MYNE blends Japanese youth culture with global influences to create bold, original pieces, that ooze Tokyo cool.