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Vetements Creators’ Secret Project Stops Designers from ‘Selling Their Souls’

The Gvasalia family is doing what it does best: shaking things up.

The visionaries behind streetwear label Vetements are once again on a mission to disrupt the fashion industry, first with meme-worthy collaborations and now with a new “secret project” slated to launch later this month.

Through a new venture it calls the Gvasalia Family Foundation, creatives of all genders, ages and backgrounds will have the ability to showcase their talents without being tied to a traditional fashion conglomerate. Existing separately from Vetements, the foundation will work with a number of creative teams to turn their designs into reality, providing all of the logistical and financial details, including technical development, production management, distribution—and even mentorship—to individuals they select.

Though fashion conglomerates own most of the biggest names in the industry, Vetements co-founder and CEO Guram Gvasalia thinks the business model is tired. According to a recent interview with Vogue, he feels the conglomerate structure makes it difficult for new designers to thrive, and that once a “superstar” designer emerges, his or her creations quickly get diluted in order to meet merchandisers’ requests.

It’s an issue that others in the industry have attempted to solve, with companies like the Giannetti Factory serving as a one-stop shop for brands of all sizes to come up with an idea and let its network of supply chain professionals manage all of the details.

It’s also a concept that Gvasalia alluded to during the WWD Apparel + Retail CEO Summit in 2019, when he announced Vetements’ plans to build a 30,000-square-foot co-working hub for designers that would be part of a broader program involving school presentations and scholarships for promising talent. He stated that the brands wouldn’t be owned by Vetements, and would instead maintain their own independent structure.

The Gvasalia Family Foundation noted that its “experimental laboratory” will ensure that new brands remain loyal to their creative aesthetic “and not be forced to chase market trends, or worse, to sell their souls to the devils of the industry.”

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On July 22, the company will introduce one new brand—the first of many, it states—inspired by traditional men’s wear and tailoring, but geared toward all genders and ages. Though none of the brands will include logos, what these labels lack in branding, they make up for in design. According to the company, each new brand will have a distinct aesthetic that is “recognizable from far away.”

The anonymity is part of the strategy. In his interview with Vogue, Gvasalia noted that every creative has an expiration date, and by operating like a collaborative as opposed to a company with one main designer, product innovation should soar as a result.

And it seems to be working already. Just five hours after publishing a screenshot of the Vetements Secret Project Instagram profile onto the official Vetements Instagram, the post garnered close to 11,000 likes and 6,000 comments.

Hype is something the Vetements creators are intimately familiar with. The brand first went viral after showing its DHL T-shirt during the Spring/Summer ’16 runway show, which hosted A-listers Kanye West and Travis Scott in the front row. From then on, the brand became synonymous with hype culture, and was even met with skepticism when co-founder Demna Gvasalia announced he was leaving fashion.

According to Guram, some of the best fashion creations can come from those outside of the industry—and that’s what he aims to uncover through his new venture.

“I think when you put smart people with ideas together you can create things that don’t even exist: products, or websites, or some lifestyle activities,” he told Vogue. “I think there is a huge potential behind being open-minded and just bringing people together.”