Vetements SS19 Collection Comes with a Georgian History Lesson

Fashion and culture magazine Dazed is reporting on a new app that integrates fashion, history, and technology. Fashion label Vetements, headed by Abkhaz-born Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia, has presented its Spring/Summer 2019 (SS19) collection along with an app created to teach people the history of Gvasalia’s native Georgia. Selected pieces include QR codes that can be scanned to give app users information on recent historical events in Georgia, including the 1992 Abkhaz War.

On the evening of July 1, Vetements presented its latest collection under a flyover in the middle of Paris. Dazed Digital reports that “this season’s offering was inspired by his experiences of growing up in a troubled country, and the violence he and his family witnessed” during the Georgian 1990s. The collection was inspired by “family and violence,” a “tribute to [Gvasalia’s] home, it was also designed to educate the rest of the world on Georgia’s struggle – by way of a downloadable app.”

You can download the app once the collection hits stores and, by scanning the QR codes, the app will send users to Wikipedia pages detailing Georgian historical events. “We cast the show in Georgia, and had over 40 models come from there,” Gvasalia explained. “I use them as a voice for a youth that doesn’t have one, and is repressed by a political regime in that they can’t demonstrate or say what they think – there is no real freedom in Georgia. I lived through that and realized it was a very painful time for me, and I needed to put it out there.” The designer stepped into controversy among Georgians recently when Vetements released a photo of a new design – knee-high red leather boots decorated with the print of the Russian passport cover.

Many young Georgians would dispute Gvasalia’s claim that “there is no real freedom in Georgia” today, pointing to the recent public protests over police raids on the Bassiani night club and against the Justice Ministry’s findings in the high-profile murder case of two high school boys, in which young people raised their voices and effected change – including, perhaps, the resignation of former Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who stepped down in the midst of protests.

Gvasalia is also creative director for Spain-based Balenciaga, whose AW18 collection partnered with the World Food Organization (and set up a hotline which asked callers a series of probing questions). Vetements will continue that partnership with its SS19 collection.


By Samantha Guthrie

Photo: Dazed Digital

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02 July 2018 18:03