The night of February 9 was wild. Vetements hosted an event in Los Angeles and the event drew approximately 1,500 people. And no, this event has nothing to do with celebrities or a fashion show.
Vetements hosted an event at Maxfield — open to the public. The event was advertised on the Vetements’ Instagram page with 1.4 million followers. It was an open installation and exclusive merchandise including the regular pieces from the collection that will not be available in the stores for the next six months. The sale lasted from 8 p.m. to midnight.
“For me, it’s not about selling. I don’t like the wording of see-now-buy-now. It’s not where we are going, but I think it’s interesting to give people an opportunity to get something before everyone else can,” said a chief executive officer of Vetements, Guram Gvasalia for WWD.
The visitors could purchase a limited edition T-shirts and hoodies with a “Beverly Hills” logo for $330 to $875. Pieces from the Vetements collection in the Paris showroom were also available at the event. 50 pieces of each unit, available for one night only. Who wouldn’t buy it? There were also the “Staff” shirts made exclusively for Vetements staff as a Christmas gift, and these shirts were on sale for $150.
These items were available to the shoppers who started lining up at 5 p.m. around the store and parking lot. For the visitors who came for the spectacle, there was no line up in front of Tommy Perse’s, Maxfield’s owner, glass house transformed into a high-end dry cleaning store. The sale was placed inside the store. The hundreds who came into the glass house were chatting and drinking wine and beer from plastic red cups.
The high-end brand Vetements attracted a loyal fan community globally, so the ‘college kid meets high-end shopper’ is nothing strange for this brand.
“I think this kind of experience, even if you wait, creates a certain pleasant memory, and it’s very different from clicking a button and putting in your credit card number,” said Guram Gvasalia. “We did an event a few months ago in Korea outside of Seoul. All my Korean friends laughed and said no one would travel one-and-a-half hours from the city. But people came 17 hours before we started and there were crowds outside wearing $6,000 jackets sleeping on the ground. In 15 minutes we sold out of 5,000 pieces. It was not like Black Friday in the U.S. Everyone gave each other space. It was such great energy to see all these people who actually wear the brand buying pieces.”
Gvasalia is running the company with his brother, who is creative director of Vetements, Demma Gvasalia. There are no outside investors. The duo spent five weeks in the United States last summer and studied the department stores and outlets.
“It’s all about growth and ‘growth’ is a such a dirty word to me. I read the trades and they all speak about 17 percent here, 10 percent there for internal growth — no one speaks about profits — but I look at our company as a baby and I feel after a certain age the baby comes to a certain height and needs to stop growing. All these companies are trying to jump over their own heads,” said Guram Gvasalia.
Vetements is producing only in limited quantities. It is the way this brand fights against overproduction in the fashion industry.
“We all have too many clothes anyhow. We don’t buy because we need it. Then it’s just about a multiplication of this production, and most companies don’t care what’s happening with their clothes. You just click a button if you want it; you go to a store you if you want a physical experience. This is what we are trying to create an event. It’s not just about buying, it’s about being together and having a certain connectivity and memory,” the brothers said.
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