The brand responsible for the current fashion zeitgeist is Enfants Riches Déprimés, which is French for “rich, depressed kids.” Founded in 2012 by Henri Alexander, it has become one of the most influential brands of the decade.
With the hyper-saturation of fast fashion infecting every facet of the industry, seeing a brand make garments so expensive and so exclusive that is unattainable seems like the worst idea ever. Right?
Well as it turns out those unfairly expensive garments with simple prints and brutal distressing are a reaction to over-branding and luxury fashion. Streetwear juxtaposed with couture, taking the techniques of couture and combining them with streetwear’s energetic nihilistic aesthetic.
How is Henri Alexander selling his clothing? With ERD being grudge and punk-inspired DIY look it’s hard to imagine how the garments could cost so much even if the designs are amazing.
Well ERD is not meant to be bought by anyone who cares about the cost. Celebrities, the rich, and the fashionable disgruntled kids of Calabasas are exactly who ERD is targeting.
Alexander grew up a wealthy boarding school student who loved punk and hated school, he reflects on his experiences in an interview with V Magazine where he said,
“The line is essentially a result of my conflict between punk influences and my entitled (wealthy bourgeoisie) upbringing and my views on it.”
The idea of selling garments to people like you makes for truly honest garments that resonate with audiences.
Alexander’s influence has made its way into other brands who have seen the success of his designs and found inspiration in the things that made ERD resonate with the disgruntled youth.
Vetements is the most popular brand that has taken the ERD vision and completely embodied the idea of taking streetwear and elevating it to the fashionable elite.
Taking oversized, awkwardly cut hoodies of super high-quality fabrics and putting the DHL logo on them with an $800 price tag. The price of the garment is hard to comprehend, but you are buying more than the garment when you spend that much.
“The price point is not only a marker of value but intrinsically part of the piece itself”, Alexander remarked in a 2015 interview with The Guardian.
He expanded on that thought later in the same interview, “No pieces are alike and everything is limited. I have no interest in making affordable pieces for the masses.”
With brands like Vetements doing so well following the price structure and anti-fashion mentality that ERD invented, it’s no surprise that the industry giants like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Balenciaga are doing the same thing.
Vetements was founded by Demna Gvasalia in 2009 and has been a major project for him, since leaving Maison Margiela before starting Vetements.
Demna at the end of 2015 took the creative director role at the prestigious 99-year-old fashion house Balenciaga after the incredible Alexander Wang. With attractive sensual conservative silhouettes complemented by dark colors and abstract yet simple patterns.
Demna would be changing things up by bringing the Vetements anti-fashion to the major house in 2015, the world was not ready for what Demna would bring to Balenciaga.
He created mass hysteria that turned the industry on its head. Selling $1,250 shirts with another shirt sue on the collar, 5-inch crocs that cost $800, and the list goes on and on.
These pieces are posted on Instagram more than modern memes. Demna’s marketing though crazy design and fast trend based clothing is changing Balenciaga’s markets. They’ve seen sales increase 100% in certain areas.
There is no denying that the anti-fashion, elevated streetwear, new couture designs are changing the way we think about dressing. But is the style here to stay or is it a trend that, like so many others, will pass in 4 years?
Demna is here to stay and will continue to change brands around the world, as his mark has been burned into the fashion history books with Vetements. ERD will continue to make the clothing for the rich and depressed kids his brand is named after, and Henri Alexander’s influence on brands will be seen for seasons to come.
It’s a strange time for fashion lovers because of the very polarizing state of uncertainty that sets the fashion lover up for empty pockets and old, out-of-style garments.
As strange as it may seem, this is how the cyclical fashion industry works. Seasonal changes and an abundance of new clothing really shows the free market taste/trend-based purchasing habits that made Vetements popular, in turn creating this new trend!