Update: Highsnobiety released the following statement to WWD: “Vetements isn’t immune to the struggles faced by modern independent labels, but what we’re analyzing is their ability to sustain marketing hype and relevance to our young, trend-conscious audience as it grows. While it’s impossible to quantify street cred, we have noticed a sharp decline in Vetements in our global street style coverage, and the buyers we spoke to, many of whom work at smaller, independent retailers, often rely on a brand’s strength to help curate their offer, and cater especially to the type of discerning consumer we speak to. The moment a brand like Vetements ends up in larger, more mainstream retailers, it’s a hit to their perceived authenticity. While Vetements is far from dead, to many in the industry — especially the selective market we cater to — it is ‘over.’”
Vetements has responded to an investigative piece by Highsnobiety that questions the luxury brand’s vitality, dismissing the story as “fake news”.
In a statement issued to WWD, Vetements’ chief executive officer Guram Gvasalia wrote: “It is sad to see the state of journalism today. In the era of click-baits, using the name of our company in the article is a click-bait itself, and even more so when it’s mentioned in a negative headline. To the disappointment of all the haters, we would like to declare that Vetements is in the strongest creative and financial state it has ever been. We are definitely not going out of business and the speculations about our sales figures are not only false and defamatory in its nature but also simply ridiculous Sadly some journalists today are more concerned with writing fake news and reposting shocking headlines rather than checking facts to show the full picture. It is especially upsetting to see some fashion writers, fueled by their personal agendas, attacking young independent brands while sucking up to big conglomerates for their advertisement budgets. Serious news outlets seem to be turning into tabloids and gossip blogs that impose somebody’s opinion and made-up stories as true facts.”
To reiterate the point, Demna Gvasalia issued his own harshly-worded missive via the brand’s Instagram channel, calling the story “wannabe journalism” and “gossip”.
The Highsnobiety piece, titled “2 Years After They Broke the Internet, It Looks Like Nobody is Buying Vetements,” cited multiple anonymous sources who claim the label isn’t selling due to wnaning relevancy and outrageous price points. “I don’t think in fashion today there is anything that one could say is overpriced or underpriced,” Helen David, the chief mercent at Harrods, told WWD of Vetements’ price structure. “It’s all about price perception and how much the end client is willing to pay that determines the correct value of the product. And given that it’s flying out at Harrods, it’s not overpriced. If it was, people wouldn’t’ be wiling to pay the prices. Price is the index of desire.” She added that Vetements had sold four or five times better than she’d anticipated. The brand’s unicorn hoodie sold so well, David attempted to buy more but wasn’t able to due to limited availability.
The paper also spoke to Jeffrey Kalinsky of Jeffrey New York, who said Vetements is selling at full, entry-level pricing. “Sellthroughs at full price is what determines if you go forward with a brand, and we’ve been very happy with how it’s been selling,” he said, adding the store had sold between $350,000 to $450,000 of Vetement product in the past year. Sarah Stuart, the buying director at Maxfield in Los Angeles, agreed that the brand continues to be a hot commodity and reported that it continues to outperform sales expectations.
Highsnobiety has yet to respond to Vetements.
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