10 may 2024

Who is Guram Gvasalia, Demna’s brother and co-founder of Vetements?

Discreet and mysterious, Guram Gvasalia belongs to the category of fashion designers whose influence extends beyond their collections. Here are some key elements that characterize the Georgian designer, who has been spotted holding hands with American rapper Doja Cat.

Guram and Demna Gvasalia: two influential Georgian designers


While the history of fashion remembers many influential duos, such as Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe, Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole, Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant de Coperni, the fact that the two siblings team up for a project remains quite unique. 


Aside from Dan & Dean Caten (Dsquared2), Kate and Laura Mulleavy (Rodarte), and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (The Row), they can be counted on the fingers of one hand.


In 2004, Demna and Guram Gvasalia, who were still unknown by the general public at the time, took the fashion industry by storm with the launch of one of the most disruptive labels of the past twenty years.


Born respectively in 1981 and 1985 in Soviet Georgia, a country they fled because of the civil war in 1991, the brothers have become two of the most influential figures in today’s fashion industry thanks to their brand Vetements.


Anonymous at first, the audience later discovered that the eldest brother, Demna, and the youngest one, Guram, held the positions of artistic director and CEO of the label, which claimed to be a collective.


A decade later, the Gvasalia brothers, who share a similar taste for mystery and provocation, have risen to the top of the fashion industry to the point of being regularly cited among the most influential figures of the century.

A mysterious yet arrogant personality at the head of Vetements


While his elder brother remains quiet on social media, Guram Gvasalia likes to share snippets of his life on Instagram. Aside from this, the two brothers share a common taste for privacy and rarely give interviews.


Their radio silence only adds to the mystery surrounding this business and management graduate from the London College of Fashion, who made his debuts in the sales department of the British house of Burberry, before co-founding his label Vetements.


Appointed artistic director of Balenciaga in 2015, Demna eventually left Vetements in September 2019 and entrusted his younger brother with the brand. The reasons for his departure have never been disclosed, fueling speculation about possible tensions between the brothers.


Without an emblematic figure to represent it, the label gradually went off the radar, although Guram Gvasalia stated that commercial success had always been there in an article published by the French daily newspaper Le Monde. However, in December 2021, the CEO self-appointed himself as creative director of Vetements, even though he wasn’t qualified for the position.


Over the past few years, I have spent a lot of time working alongside the model makers. Today, the business is flourishing, so I can add my contribution to the collections. Let’s be honest, CEOs don’t do much in most companies,” he declared in that same article.


Guram Gvasalia, the all-powerful leader of one of the few remaining independent fashion brands, has gradually unveiled the lucid and arrogant aspects of his personality. In the rare interviews he has given to the media, unique insights into today’s fashion are mixed with provocative remarks aimed at his fellow designers, and more often than not at his brother.


In June 2022 for instance, he stated in Le Monde that “even cheese has a longer expiration date than clothes nowadays”. A year later, in July 2023, he said in an article published by The New York Times: “I think my brother is very talented, but I have a completely different approach to things. He had his good run of 10 years, and I think his era is slowly going to its finish line. Now it is my time”.


And while we know that Guram Gvasalia has proven to be a true marketing genius on many occasions with Vetements, we wonder whether these provocative phrases truly mirror his thoughts or simply stand as a means to an end, which is reinforcing the brand’s increasingly subversive image.


Traduction Emma Naroumbo Armaing