Consumers rarely get to see the (often enormous) press releases that accompany most fashion shows but Vetements’ sub-label VTMNTS let fans peek behind the curtain at its Fall/Winter 2023 release in the name of transparency. Things didn’t quite go the way it expected, though.

Typically, press releases outline designers’ inspirations, highlight artist collaborators, or promote special seasonal products. The section that VTMNTS posted to Instagram on January 17, however, was packed with enthusiastic promises of “sustainability” and “fair prices,” eliciting more than a few side-eyes on the comments (it didn’t help that it was hashtagged #FightTheInflation).

Key points: VTMNTS is “reinvesting” the cost of a traditional fashion show into itself for “our consumers,” sourcing “new materials and fabrics that allow unprecedented freedom of movement” while “working on the prices and production” to “deliver the highest ‘Made in Europe’ quality for a best price [sic] possible!”

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This sort of hyperbole isn’t terribly unusual for VTMNTS.

The brand’s press releases have consistently raved about “craftsmanship” and individuality without a hint of self-awareness, even presenting the VTMNTS’ genderless clothing as “a revolution” in fashion, as if no one else had ever used that term to describe hoodies and sweatpants.

“VTMNTS is a brand for people who wear clothes for themselves and not for others, for those who have nothing to prove, for those who do not want to wear huge logos and scream what brand they are wearing, for those who understand the high quality and value of craftsmanship,” VTMNTS said in a press release when it launched in 2022.

Note that VTMNTS still uses huge logos quite often, actually, and not even always its own.

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Anyways, VTMNTS’ lofty promises haven’t really stepped on any toes, mostly because they were presented in press releases unavailable to the public.

But the stuff that VTMNTS published on January 17 didn’t sit quite right with commenters and that’s saying something: these are the people devoted enough to follow VTMNTS on social media and even they’re put off.

Comments don’t beating around the bush: “Pay your workers fair instead, the [people] buying this won’t need a discount anyway,” “Nothing about producing anything is sustainable. Try again,” “The whole problem with the inflation is literally the opposite.”

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Even in a vacuum, it’s odd that Vetements would attempt to market attempts to lower costs as a considerate action being taken to offset inflation. Fashion is an inherent luxury and those most hit by inflation probably aren’t spending big bucks on fancy clothes.

The crux of the issue appears to be that VTMNTS is seemingly patting itself on the back for both purportedly cutting out the middleman and offering “fair” prices for clothes unattainable to most (VTMNTS hoodies retail for over $800 and jackets go for over $1,300), without once mentioning ethicality or any specifics related to production.

In fact, whether VTMNTS is lowering prices to make things more “fair” to would-be buyers hit by inflation or because it isn’t moving product, one could cynically read the end goal as identical either way: VTMNTS wants to sell more stuff.

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In truth, both Vetements and VTMNTS have displayed a distinct lack of self-awareness ever since Guram Gvasalia took over as CEO following brother Demna’s decampment to Balenciaga.

Theatrical statements are common, like the florid statement Guram issued when he also became Vetements’ creative director (see the Instagram post embedded above).

How exactly VTMNTS’ $1,100 jeans or Vetements’ $5,300 bombers empower “all the kids out there who dream of fashion” is unclear but the reaction to VTMNTS’ FW23 statement suggests that the label may overestimate how well it knows its audience.

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