Arrogance in the Fashion World


Arrogance seems to be in fashion right now, quite literally so. At least that’s the impression I am getting. What other way is there to explain the latest collections of Vetements, Balenciaga & Co?   They show leather bags that look pretty much like IKEA pouches for 1 Euro a piece (add three zeros and you have the price tag for a Balenciaga bag), jackets that are indiscernible from the vests security staff wear at airports (add two zeros here) and DHL shirts for 250 quid.   It would be funny if it was a joke, but it isn’t. All these items were top-sellers that people were literally lining up to pay hefty prices for. Why? I guess the simple answer is: because they can.   Because money is not an issue for some, and plenty of people who can’t really afford those items were happy to jump on the bandwagon as well, in the hope to become part of an exclusive club. There was a crowd of buyers who seemed to go fashion slumming, you know, dress like a pleb for a day. This kind of slumming only works if you do make the point that you paid a small fortune for your clothes, so plenty of fashion labels were happy to cater to that exact target group with their designs. Why pay 40 Euros for a jacket if you can pay 2000? Even if it looks virtually identical, even if it’s only be discernible to the eye of a trained top professional that you’re not wearing the cheaper version, that you in fact paid ten times the amount of the more affordable item. Why did you do it again? Oh yeah, because you can. And the plebs can’t.   Welcome to our stratified world.

I’m phrasing it pretty drastically, sure. But when you’re part of the industry you can’t help but ask yourself from time to time whether people are actually fucking serious. The other option is to switch off your critical faculties and just roll with it. It’s just another trend, so what. Right? What’s wrong with that?   But I can’t see it like that. It’s more than a trend, it’s a statement – and not one I would wear with pride. It just speaks of a disconnect with reality to me. Or maybe I am the one losing touch.   The nonchalance with which people spend a monthly wage on a bag, only to declare it passé the next season has peaked in the pointless DHL x Vetements collection, which was presented in Leipzig and consisted of a run of shirts with DHL designs at the price point of 250 EUR. The press was swooning.: finally out of the comfort zones of Milan and Paris, at good last the spotlight was directed at a real every-day DHL Center, where attendants could feel like proper working people for a day. Cool poses in front of DHL boxes on Instagram included. And in the evening you’re just happy to be able to go back home and sink into your velvet couch.   What were the designers thinking? I honestly don’t know! I really can’t imagine them being serious with this. Seems more like they’re having a laugh at the expense of the entire fashion world. And the fashionistas don’t even notice it. Everyone’s just squandering their cash on logo-shirts and logo-bags and logo everything. And we’re still talking about a DHL logo here.

Fashion is dictated by the streets these days. Literally.

With all that said: I have nothing against DHL as a company! Those guys have certainly become a more important part of the infrastructure in our digital world, and I see my package delivery guy more often than most of my friends. I wouldn’t even mind a fan-shirt. But I’ll have to draw a line at the Vetement collabo.

‚Look at me, I can afford to pay 300 EUR for a shirt, Gucci, Balenciaga, whatever, as long as it’s already legible from far away.‘ This logo hype is really getting on my nerves big time by now. So much so, that I get more and more drawn to labels like Celine that continue to impress with classic fashion and quality products, which are so much more important than logos. Celine doesn’t need to pull up smokes and mirrors in logo form. You perceive that the label offers quality pieces, and it’s also immediately clear that this quality comes at a price. What a stark contrast to all those labels jumping on the trendy bandwagon.

Is this really a way to distinguish ourselves? Wearing a logo? I mean, how far is this going to go?

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Are we going to be blessed with a collaboration between Vetements and KIK next? With KIK quality? And will the fashion girls swoon over that collection too? Overrun KIK branches to get their hands on pieces for ten times their regular price only because the shirts sport Vetements logos?   In my eyes, this development is pretty sad, to be honest. Well, it’s good for DHL I guess. Those guys must be super pleased with the current hype. They’re definitely winning here, even if it’s guaranteed that the hype won’t last long.

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13 Kommentare

  1. Den Hype, um diese Art von Kooperation sehe ich ähnlich. Auf der einen Seite ist die Idee dahinter ja schon cool, aber es so zu vermarkten und zu solch horrenden Preisen zu verkaufen eher nicht. Und ich bezweifle das DHL bis auf einen kleinen Hype irgendwelchen erkennbaren Nutzen daraus ziehen wird.

    Das einzige Problem, was ich mit deinem Text habe ist, dass du natürlich auch Designerteile trägst, die es in ähnlicher Form zu einer weitaus günstigeren Variante gibt. Weißt du wie ich das meine? Zum einen prangerst du diese sehr, sehr offensichtliche Markenkooperation an (zu Recht), aber wiederum kaufst/trägst/vermarktest du andere Marken – wo, wie wir ja alle wissen, man eigentlich auch eher mehr für den Namen, als alles andere zahlt.

    Ich weiß, dass du es mehr auf die ganzen „Print-Logos“ abgezielt hast, aber die Grundessenz des Ganzen bleibt dennoch für mich gleich.

    1. Ja ich verstehe die Problematik und auch, dass Leser Schwierigkeiten haben diesen Text von mir als solchen zu akzeptieren, eben weil ich ja auch selbst Teil der Industrie bin, aber es nicht anzusprechen kam für mich eben auch nicht in Frage.

  2. I’m glad you decided to write about this.It’s quite.. fascinating to say at least. I myself feel astonished by how far designers have taken it in the last 2 years or so. I mean I suppose it’s mostly Vetements, not every high end fashion designer is doing it of course. I really think that Demna is trying to find out just how far he can go, to find out where the finish line to what these mindless rich consumer kids will swallow up without hesitation. And where does it end? I suppose it is because people feel like there is almost nothing new that they could offer the fashion world in terms of actual beauty, quality and originality. So they go for the opposite? They don’t ask themselves „how do I make this look luxurious“ but instead „how do I make this look as common and ridiculous as possible“ and then call it a „revolution“. Sadly people eat it all up. They cannot wait to give those 3000 euros for a piece of garbage because Asap Rocky wore it. I don’t know where it ends. On the other hand, I don’t know if this is more ridiculous than spending 50 000 on a Birkin bag. I think it all connects. It’s like there’s this huge contrast between these ridiculous prices and how cheap fast fashion has become. I mean you go to Zara and find that you can buy a beautiful „suede“ jacket that looks 10x as expensive as those Vetements pieces for what, 30 euros? So there’s this contrast between the beautiful, crazy cheap clothing sown by kids in awful conditions and the ugly, ridiculously expensive but cheap-LOOKING clothing that the world’s most renowned fashion designers designed… I’m gonna end it here because I’d go own forever.. But thank you for bringing it up and making me (and all of us) think about it all. Maybe that’s what everyone should do.. Just a think (a little) :)

  3. Dear Masha – Thank you for this excellent post. I have been reading your blog year after year and I am continually inspired by your creativity, thoughtfulness, and authenticity in a time where 90% of content I see online is a thinly veiled advertisement. The „irony“ of brands like Vetements has bothered me for a long time because it robs the ability of the so called „plebs“ to receive respect for their daily wear, and forms a new kind of elitism at the same time. It reminds me of your „Does Money Make you Happy“ post, and it makes me think of all the artifice of the lives of the rich in the fashion world that you describe. Thank you for putting in words an uncomfortable feeling I have been unable to describe! I so look forward to your future posts!

  4. The way I see it is – even if I were significantly more loaded than I am, last thing I would want to pay for is being someone’s advertisement… I mean… I hate walking around with branded shopping bags because I feel like I just spent some money on being someone’s billboard, let alone wear it on me. If anyone wants me to showcase DHL (and I have no clue why they would), they should pay me, no? And then I can just politely decline the offer :)

  5. Danke masha! Du sprichst mir so aus der Seele. Ich finde es traurig, dass einige so viel für ein Shirt zahlen, um zu zeigen, dass sie das Geld dazu haben. Ganz ehrlich, dann könnte man sich genauso gut komplett mit Geld bekleben und so auf die Straße gehen…

    Liebe Grüße,
    deine Maj-Britt