Demna Gvasalia: The King of the Fashion Memes


Why should work-obsessed, sleep-deprived students at Cal care about a random fashion designer? Our love for memes.

In October 2015, Gvasalia was named the creative director of Balenciaga, a prestigious fashion label that has had a rocky last couple of decades. Four seasons into his tenure, Balenciaga is now ranked the 3rd hottest fashion brand at the moment. Vetements, Demna’s own brand is ranked 4th. As you can see, it is impossible to talk about relevance in today’s fashion without mentioning Mr. Gvasalia, but how did he get so popular? Many would argue his rise has to be attributed to his absurd, meme-like products. Here is a list of these items that highlight these past couple of years in Demna’s career.


Balenciaga Campaign Logo

Balenciaga’s Fall/Winter 17 collection was brought together by this familiar logo. This logo is a very close copy of Bernie Sanders’s campaign logo in the 2016 United States Presidential elections. It was slapped on t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, boots, scarves, backpacks, dad hats, stuffed animals, pencils, lighters, literally on everything. These items sell for ridiculously high prices, starting with a t-shirt retailing at $295. Do you see the irony yet? The logo that represents extreme left wing economic values and income equality will be worn by the richest 1%, a complete mockery of consumerism and the fact that people will wear what they are fed and not what they really like and believe in.


Balenciaga Triple-S Trainer

Also shown in the Fall/Winter 17’ runway show, this clunky, strange looking sneaker was one of the most anticipated products of the year. The controversy around its ugly looks, and the distressing of the shoe only managed to make it more popular. Although the shoe is hideous to many, it is quite different from everything there is on the market and, although I’m ashamed to admit it, the chunky sneaker is growing on me. Love it or hate it, the sneaker retailed at $850 and sold out within a couple of hours. But how could you wear this without looking like a lame dad going for a jog?


The Balenciaga Inflatable Jacket

Maybe the most infamous piece of the decade is this life vest from the Spring/Summer 17’ collection. Rappers such as Drake and A$AP Rocky wore it and added to the hype. Does it belong on a raft? This piece better save your life in case of an emergency because it is definitely not saving your outfit. Like the most liked yet absurd memes, the piece is currently sold out and retailed at the exorbitant price of $2500. If it were me, I’d rather get a small boat that includes a life jacket for that same price...


The Balenciaga Shopper Bags

These two bags are leather versions of the classic shopping paper bag and the IKEA Frakta bag. Even though it is made of calf-skin, the tote bag mimics the classic, disposable paper bag, so be careful not to throw this $1,150 version in the trash! IKEA is known for its affordable prices and mediocre quality, making this IKEA inspired luxury bag even more satirical as the brand’s bougie consumers will be looking like broke college students hauling around furniture. Next time you shop at IKEA, make sure your $2,145 Balenciaga bag doesn’t get mixed up with someone else’s bag full of FÄRGRIK mugs and EKBY ÖSTEN shelves.


The Vetements DHL Tee

Arguably Vetements’ most important piece to date is this t-shirt. Bearing the delivery company’s logo and colors there is no real “design” to the shirt, it is just the clever idea of making something so ironic and trivial cost $250 and having it sell out. Vetements, which should be taken with a pinch of salt solely due to its banal name meaning clothes in French is known for its simple, at times uninspiring collaborations that sell at truly exorbitant prices. Demna himself said he wouldn’t pay the prices they charge, yet a lot of their products sell out.  It was this t-shirt that brought Vetements all the attention and helped it rise from the unknown to the hottest brand of the first quarter in 2017. One can only wonder what the future holds for Vetements… a collab with Walgreens or maybe even Best Buy, only time will tell.


The Balenciaga Crocs

Balenciaga //

Balenciaga //

Let the fashion scene be a meme page and Demna the most popular poster as he strikes once again with maybe his best meme piece to date. Behold one of the most ridiculed, ugliest shoes of the 21st century turned into a high fashion piece being walked at Paris Fashion Week. These bright plastic, raised Crocs are already creating a huge buzz. We have yet to hear on this Crocs’ retail price, but one thing is for sure, Demna knows exactly what he is doing with this one.

What do we take away from these pieces? Balenciaga and Vetements are overpriced. Maybe. High fashion is absurd? Maybe. Demna Gvasalia is a genius who understands the era of social media and exploits the fact that all publicity is good publicity. For sure.

All of these pieces are meant to be controversial and funny just like the memes we so dearly love at Berkeley. Through the buzz these controversial pieces create, Demna is able to stay at the top of today’s fashion scene. Perhaps one day Demna will help out our cocky friends across the bay elevate their meme game to our level.


Words By Albert Tres