Vetements' Stylist Lotta Volkova Says Subcultures Are Dead
Lotta Volkova, uber-stylist to Demna Gvasalia’s Vetements and Balenciaga says, “It’s about the remix.”
No designer can do it alone, and Lotta Volkova is the superstar behind Demna Gvasalia’s Vetements and Balenciaga. Business of Fashion talked to Volkova about her boss and why subcultures are dead. Her thinking:
“Obviously, there are no subcultures to be discovered anymore, at least not in the Western world. It’s more about the remix of information. Kids today — the new generation — they think in different ways. They don’t even have the knowledge of what a subculture is. It is not relevant to them.”
Could this explain Vetements’ success? The objection to one specific mindset? Perhaps, when we consider the recent conversation about skate appropriation, namely Vogue’s ”Skate Week.” Instead Volkova and Gvasalia operate on “social uniforms” and social media – Gvasalia once said the method to success is to make ugly. She also doesn’t read magazines, hinting at that long-held notion: print is dead.
Catch an except below and read the entire interview here. You don’t want to miss Volkova’s 2016 thinking.
Why do you love fashion?
Lotta Volkova: I have always been more interested in clothes than fashion. The way you look at clothes, and how they represent what you like in life, how they represent your interests. For me, clothes are a uniform presenting the culture you feel connected to. I love how a t-shirt says so much about you. I grew up in Vladivostok, Russia, in the former USSR. We had nothing, but we had the Internet. I was obsessed with information. I was obsessed with finding things out. That is still my driving force, to find something new. I want to discover and make other people discover. Obviously, there are no subcultures to be discovered anymore, at least not in the Western world. It’s more about the remix of information. Kids today — the new generation — they think in different ways. They don’t even have the knowledge of what a subculture is. It is not relevant to them. If they want to wear a punk shirt, that doesn’t mean that they have to listen to punk music or have a political point of view. They don’t have that mentality. In my generation, when we were grunge, we were grunge. It
How did you meet Demna Gvasalia?
Through a friend. Through parties, really. One night he showed me his first collection. It was just some lookbook images. Apparently, I saw the lookbook and I said, “Great clothes, but bad styling.” So he said, “Why don’t you style it then?”
What impact would you like to generate? What is the philosophy behind your work?
I am interested in doing something that is real and true. And I would love to inspire. I am really into Instagram, for example. I really like it when people write to me that they like my work and that they find it new and different, because I am taking the side of different cultures and am mixing subcultural codes rather than just being glossy and glam.
Are you against the system? Do you want to beat the system?
No, not at all. We need the system. We just want to do what we enjoy doing. The system helps us do that.
What are you wearing today?
My shirt, jeans, and shoes are Vetements. My jacket is Gosha Rubchinskiy. My bag is Balenciaga.
It seems that one of the reasons why everyone is projecting all their hopes for the future onto Vetements is because you reflect the now. Tell me about your “now.”
It’s a remix of a lot of cultural references. A constant flow of information and immediate reactions to everything. I find that extremely interesting and exciting and overwhelming. It’s very fast. Incredibly immediate. It’s a crazy pace of life. A crazy pace of being influenced. Of course, I am talking about social media. Of course, I am talking about Instagram. I’ve had the Internet since I was 12, and I was obsessed with it. I was on it all the time. I would search about fashion and music. I was very aware. You know, in the former USSR we had nothing. No magazines, no Western TV. The Internet supplied me with all the info I needed. And it still does.
Do you read fashion magazines?
- The Business Of Fashion