It's the end of a divisive yet revolutionary era, as Demna Gvasalia announced he is leaving Vetements. Five years after founding the label alongside brother Guram, the Georgian designer is leaving the streetwear empire he's built behind in order to pursue other ventures.
Vetements has been around since 2014, and in its first few seasons, the Gvasalia brothers' design collective made the second annual LVMH Prize's semifinals and attracted fans like Jared Leto and Kanye West, all without adapting to the fashion norms of Paris, where they present. Instead, the brand remained unapologetically edgy, presenting luxury iterations of items like hoodies and baseball caps within unconventional venues. The label was one of the most influential in igniting the streetwear movement, which has caused much debate as the industry ponders what this means for the state of fashion but also proven Gvasalia to be successful as a designer and entrepreneur.
Gvasalia appears to be remaining the creative director of Balenciaga, which he took over in 2015 while riding on momentum from Vetements' speedy rise. There, he has built an identity just as subject to debate—think a luxury IKEA bag, the Pantashoe, and those platform Crocs he sent down the Spring 2018 runway—but, like with Vetements, his attention-grabbing tactics and streetwear culture influence have really worked, bringing new energy to the fashion world. While not everyone is going to drop hundreds of dollars on a logo sweatshirt or pair of ugly sneakers, it appears a sizable and highly influential group will, and the debate this presence causes is likely just fuel for the fire.
The end of Gvasalia's time at his streetwear brand absolutely does not mark the end for Vetements, as Guram has promised to continue developing boundary-pushing collections while staying at the helm. With the streetwear craze having gone mainstream, feeling more like a consistent presence than an alarming trend, the imminent new decade could be the perfect time for both brothers to get people talking again, this time with a wider platform than ever before.