Whether you have been avidly following fashion news for the last few years or occasionally reading over it for the last few months, it’s unlikely – let’s go ahead and say impossible – that you missed the Vetements phenomenon, or the phenomenon that is Vetements. Since its first collection in 2014, its sudden popularity and rapid ascent has resulted in a consistent and unique influence. Now granted Vetements’ head designer and spokesperson Demna Gvasalia’s previous design experience before this sudden rise included senior responsibilities for Maison Margelia and Louis Vuitton (under Marc Jacobs). But considering the time it generally takes for designers to bubble up to such popularity, it’s hard to believe that Vetement’s iconic pullover hoodie debuted exactly this time two years ago. It’s perhaps even harder to believe that these hoodies are sold for close to $1200 and that they pretty much sell like hotcakes.
Vêtements Fall/Winter 2016 show, Paris (by Regis Colin-Berthelier for NOWFASHION)
Even as this is being published, there is no denying the sweeping impact Vetements continues to have on the fashion industry. So much so that designers at New York Fashion Week have bought into the youthful and street-inspired ways of the Paris-based label.
Yeezy by Kanye West Season 4, New-York (Courtesy of PR)
The unofficial first day of NYFW saw Kanye drop the first hoodie of the season – but that was possibly to be expected, even if it did sway away from an ominous, black hue. Either way, it was well present, elongated sleeves and all, further validating the hoodie as a catwalk staple. Some might even go as far as saying – when observing the different Yeezy Seasons – that Mr. West re-appropriated it as a staple for his own designs.
VFiles ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2017 show, New-York (by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION)
Just a few hours later, at Vfiles, it was Ground Zero who used the street-inspired silhouette as a vehicle for front-and-center graphics (namely a bright and bold anime design) and accentuated the waist to highlight the extra volume floating around. A new twist was there, agreed, but so was the clearly recognizable influence.
Tommy Hilfiger ready-to-wear Fall/Winter 2016 show, New-York (by Elizabeth Pantaleo for NOWFASHION)
And even when the lines of that specific oversized design are not as easily (or immediately) identifiable, the fact that such a simple – and until then considered by many overly basic – piece of clothing has infiltrated so many collections can probably be credited to Vetements’ influence. In fact, it’s hard to recall any other particular piece of clothing that has transcended the high-low paradigm in such a way: referencing and appropriating the once racially and socially charged garment and catapulting it onto the torsos of models and bloggers alike. Such, for instance, was the case at Tommy Hilfiger’s show Thursday night, where for various reasons it felt most out of place, yet somehow worked because of how familiar it felt – in part probably due to the fact that nowadays we often see models wearing a hoodie while “off duty." Gigi Hadid closed the show in a long-sleeve hoodie with the iconic throwback Hilfiger color codes, but not before showing a strictly Vetements-inspired piece with side sleeve slogan statements.
left: Baja East Spring/Summer 2017 show, New-York / right: Band of Outsiders Spring/Summer 2017 show, New-York (by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION)
Today was no exception either and the list of designers who continue to fuel the hoodie’s notoriety grew a little longer as both Baja East and Band of Outsiders incorporated similar styles – or at the very least variations of it – in their collections. So for the time being, it’s safe to assume the hoodie is set to reappear as the week unfolds, and that Vetements’ ripple will continue to travel across certain of NFWS’s shows. What isn’t all that certain, however, is whether designers will actually be able to continue selling basic pieces at such high-end price tags.