Though relatively new to the game, it’s no secret that Vetements is one of the most sought-after labels in today’s industry. And a lot of that can be attributed to its smart business plan.
Sure, lead designer Demna Gvasalia has a unique and well-received vision, one that gave new life to pieces like hoodies, tees, and sweatshirts; but he’s also made some savvy business moves, ones that keep both men and women always wanting more.
In a recent interview with Sarah Mower, transcribed by 1Granary, Vetements CEO discussed key points in the label’s operations and why it will never keep up with demand.
“Luxury was always something that was scarce. Today, I don’t consider Louis Vuitton to be a luxury brand – yes, the quality is luxury, but if you can go to the store and get whatever you want, it’s not luxury,” Demna’s little brother and Vetements CEO Guram Gvasalia said. “For us, the important thing is that we don’t restock and once you come to the showroom, it’s the only chance you’re going to have to place an order. Once it’s sold out, it’s sold out.”
Guram went on to explain that many labels ignore the simple rules of supply and demand, and that his company has taken steps to ensure it never overproduces. To him, it's much better sell-out at stores than to go on sale at stores, because once the clothes hit the discount rack, “there’s no going back.”
But that's not the only reason Vetements restricts production. Guram says the limitation is also a way to respect the people who purchased the clothing first. Though Vetements gets thousands of requests to recreate a specific item, Guram suggests that once a piece is so widely available it loses an element of luxury. This concept also explains why Vetements is so selective when it comes to stockists and how much it's willing to sell to them.
“It’s very important that once you start growing, you slow down the process of the growth,” he said. “The sales for women’s was insane last season. We delivered in the beginning of February and the sell-through has been between 70 and 80 percent. It is very high for industry standards. The stores come and they want to give you a bigger budget, and you get a little bit afraid that you are selling too much.”
So what the label did was implement more limits: a limitation on how many retailers could buy the men’s collection, and a limitation on how many pieces stores could order from the women’s collection.
“For example, stores cannot buy more than 10 pairs of jeans and Italian stores are not allowed to buy more than four pieces of jersey in one style,” Guram said. “In November, Barneys asked us what the minimum for the order was. And I said: there’s no minimum, but there’s a maximum. And they said that no one ever speaks about maximum.”
Unconventional business moves, for sure. But we all know Vetements has never stuck to the beaten path.
To read other highlights from the interview, including why the label is so damn expensive, head to 1Granary's website.