Down-Low Designers: Vetements
The anonymous collaborators behind the new Paris-based label speak out.
For the time being, the designers behind Vetements, a new Paris-based label, must remain nameless due to existing contractual commitments. But anonymity is a concept that the seven collaborators are quite comfortable with, having all worked in the design department at Maison Martin Margiela, a fashion house practically built on it. “Vetements came out of us questioning everything we knew about fashion during our lunch breaks,” says the brand’s spokesperson. “Our only idea at the start was to make clothes that would sell and be worn.” To that end, they set out to create a series of singular pieces (above) rather than a cohesive collection—no reigning color palette or recurring fabric scheme. This season’s trench, cinched with a stringlike belt, is available only in beige mackintosh cotton “because if it wasn’t in that color and that fabric, for us it wouldn’t be a trench.” The cropped wool duffel coat is classic navy and deliberately oversize, with fabric—so stiff it could practically stand on its own—sourced from a maritime supplier in the U.K. The team searched far and wide to find “just the right normal, all-American T-shirt cotton” (turns out it was in Portugal) and painstakingly made a jagged-hemmed pant from three pairs of faded blue jeans. Behind the Vetements look is a desire to get back to the rough, unrefined nature of work-wear fabrics before they were “improved” by lightening and softening techniques. “If there’s one word that’s taboo for us,” says one of the collaborators, “it’s ‘sophistication.’ ”