When pop appropriations happens on the runway, we call it fashion. But when it happens on the internet, well, we call it a meme. And it seems that Vetements, the renowened street spirit label from Balenciaga's new director Demna Gvasalia, just got the meme treatment. And if you needed more way of convincing that the Vetements hype is utterly ridiculous these days, look no further than Vetememes, the Vetements parody brand started by enterprising Grailed staff member Davil Tran. At just two weeks young, the brand has produced a set of raincoats mimicking those of Demna Gvasalia’s much-hyped Parisian collective.
Without any buzz, a website purportedly selling Vetements-inspired merchandise, with the unforgettable yet slightly genius name of tongue twister nod to the existing label Vetememes. This fledging company has already built a virtual reputation for its single product offering – a logo-flipped copy of the buzzed-about brand’s signature logo at the back of the raincoat at only $59, which cost a fraction of the original. Though hosted by Big Cartel, an e-commerce website, the Vetememes store doesn’t actually allow you to buy anything—it only mentions a preorder—and the photo showing off its knockoff wares much like a Photoshopped version of a street style pictures we would find on Vogue during the Spring 2016 shows.
While on the surface, Tran’s creation seems to be parody in the vein of the Comme des Fuckdown beanie hats and Homies t-shirts that made a rounds a couple of years ago, subverting the logos of high fashion houses, the significance of this relatively simple item goes further than simple graphic mimicry. It’s symbolic of the way that, in an industry which currently obsessed by social media and dizzied by its own pace, trends are being born and proliferated faster than ever before. Bought online, modelled on Instagram and then ironically reworked, garments like the original Vetements raincoat aren't just becoming popular, they're going viral.