Fashion disruptor Demna Gvasalia is leaving Vetements, the label he founded in 2014, to “pursue new ventures”.
His brother Guram Gvasalia will continue as co-founder and CEO of the label, which helped launch Tbilisi’s fashion credentials into the mainstream with its oversized silhouettes and wry take on hyper-consumerism.
“I started Vetements because I was bored of fashion, and against all odds, fashion did change once and forever since Vetements appeared,” the 38-year-old said in a statement to fashion site WWD. “I feel that I have accomplished my mission of a conceptualist and design innovator at this exceptional brand, and Vetements has matured into a company that can evolve its creative heritage into a new chapter on its own,” he said.
The house made its name by breaking fashion convention, including the use of Instagram-scouted amateur models, shunning certain fashion weeks and pre-collection shows, and creating catwalks in underground venues including Parisian gay club Le Depot.
Born in Soviet Georgia, Gvasalia studied international economics at Tbilisi State University before he joined Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
The creative giant has regularly drawn on his heritage as part of his work, with designs including the Soviet hammer and sickle, traditional Georgian headscarf patterns, and sheer tops embroidered to imitate torso tattoos of Orthodox cathedrals.
In 2018, Vetements launched an app which invited the public to learn about the 1992 war in Abkhazia, which Gvasalia personally experienced. “I lived through that and realised it was a very painful time for me, and I needed to put it out there,” Gvasalia stated at the time.
It has been confirmed that Gvasalia will continue to be the creative director of Balenciaga — a role he’s taken up since 2015. His next show is scheduled for the end of this month.