It was the fall of 2014 when Vetements launched quietly. Back in its earlier days, only one store in Paris stocked its collections. The Spring Summer 15 collection in store saw broad-shouldered plaid jackets, a red silk-satin floor-scraping dress, and an oversized raincoat painted with the logo "Vetements" for approximately 130 Euros. There weren't many articles out there to confirm the identity of said brand, but mere rumours floating around that these were anonymous, "ex-Margiela" guys.
Later in September 2014, Vetements showed their first runway collection. In 2015 the street style circuit was ablaze with the Vetements logo raincoat.
"I just got tired of seeing the Vetements raincoats in street style [pictures] at the time. It was very prevalent in every single street style [website]. It became a meme to me," 23-year-old Davil Tran recalls.
The Vetememes Raincoat 2.0 as seen on the fashion week street style circuit.
Then came Vetememes which Tran launched in March 2016. As soon as his "Vetememes" logo emblazoned raincoats hit the street style circuit two weeks later, it triggered a questioning in the wider fashion industry. Publications started criticising the seemingly literal and capitalist ways of Vetements' logo-jacking phenomenon. Founder of ManRepeller.com, Leandra Medine promptly wrote a lengthy antithesis titled, "Confession: I Don't Get Vetements – Do you?" Later, The Fashion Law published an article outlining the possible legal backlash to Vetememes.
But Vetememes was well-received, and it continues to be. Take a look at their website and you'll find a majority of the items sold out. "People were really supportive and loved the idea. A lot of people thought it was going to get shut down.... The New York Times reached out to Demna and asked what he thought about it, and if they were going to sue. Demna told them they were very supportive of my little project and wished me the best. I love Demna," Tran adds.
A parody of Vetement's Fall Winter 2016 runway piece.
Tran's parody was not out to diss the Vetements phenomenon but is in praise of Demna Gvasalia's refreshing outlook on fashion. "I get what Demna is trying to do and it's honestly the greatest. It's wonderful and [a] welcomed change to the fashion industry."
To Tran, Vetements is more than "hoodies and graphic tees for crazy high prices". Gvasalia and company are about breaking out of conventions and challenging the status quo of high fashion.
"He doesn't care what anyone else thinks and just does his own thing without taking it too seriously. He's having fun while being successful at it, and that's the best part... I will always look up to him, and try to one-up the guy. I hear he's a great, fun person as well."
A spin of the cut and sewn, logo emblazoned Vetements T-shirts.
With Gvasalia's appointment and collections at Balenciaga, Tran thinks it follows the same train, only "Balenciaga is more refined [in my opinion]." This June, Tran launched Boolenciaga in response.
At both Vetememes and Boolenciaga, the struggles of design and manufacturing linger. Tran starts with "inspiration, mock up, sample production, approval, [and finally] mass production."
"I try to do my best and add my own twist to the designs. It's not easy at all. It's pretty tough to choose between quality and cost."
Tran maintains he's not a designer, "I'm just an internet troll."
Davil Tran (right hand side) and his friend Chris (left) in the new Boolenciaga cap.
Vetements' recent departure from the Parisian fashion calendar, signalled a shift for Vetememes. Tran is now gravitating towards his new Boolenciaga parody instead. He's launched a Boolenciaga cap, and will soon launch more products on the current Vetememes website.
Visit Vetememes and Boolenciaga here.
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