The £185 T-Shirt Causing a Right Royal Debate

We did warn you that this DHL T-shirt from Vetements was going to generate chatter. The fashion label is led by Demna Gvasalia, who just debuted his first Balenciaga offering for A/W 16 to great acclaim, and he is no stranger to courting a smidgen of controversy. Demna's the man who has sparked a thousand copycat hoodies, a visionary who eschews regular models in favour of his friends and muses for the runway, a designer who literally turns socks into boots, persuades us all that a hiking jacket is a chic choice and is set on "disrupting" the industry further with new proposals for catwalk show times and manufacturing schedules.

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So while this DHL-emblazoned T-shirt (rendered in the courier company's instantly recognisable bumblebee yellow and bright red) has been wholeheartedly picked up by fashion types who love nothing better than a ironic nod to mass culture, there are others who do not feel the same way. Well, fashion wouldn't be fashion if everyone agreed…

In addition to an actual DHL exec taking the tee out for an ironic spin, the man who originally created the branding, Helge Reider, has penned a piece for The Financial Times, declaring that "selling a T-shirt with a DHL logo for £185 is crazy. Buying it for this price is beyond reason… I can’t see any creativity in printing a well-known brand on a T-shirt. What is genius is persuading people to freak out about a simple T-shirt. I give the designers and marketing people at Vetements credit if they can sell an 'ugly' T-shirt for £185. It’s totally nuts." Leading blogger Disney Roller Girl responded on Twitter saying, "Ridiculous! FT should've had a counter-argument—this guy doesn't understand how fashion works."


(Image credit: Style du Monde)

Margaret Zhang of Shine by Three wearing the Vetements DHL tee in London.

This is probably why fashion moments are indeed that: a finite period of time where something like the tee in question appeals to the right people in the right frame of mind. Take the Vetements-stamped anoraks, worn uniformly by a legion of street style photographers throughout the recent fashion weeks as another example. In reaction to the trend, a pop-up e-commerce store has arrived solely stocking a parody of this one item, only this version of the raincoat has a more Internet-appropriate adaptation of the brand name printed on the back: Vetememes

Fashion designers have long been obsessed by branding (Marc Jacobs is a big Coca-Cola fan, for example) and this season is nothing if not logo-heavy. So who decides what constitutes an "attractive" one or an "ugly" one? A "meaningful" one or a "throwaway" one? You do. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so if, for some reason, you find the £185 jersey crew-neck too tempting to pass on, buy it. If you don't, walk on by. But as we now know all too well—what with the floral dresses and reworked denim flying off shelves—Vetements wares (no matter how madcap or how plain) wait for no man. Scroll down to shop a range of conversation-starting T-shirts…

Think you'll be picking up a logo tee? Let us know which one in the comments box…

Hannah Almassi
Editor in Chief

Hannah Almassi is the Editor in Chief of Who What Wear UK. Hannah has been part of the the Who What Wear brand since 2015, when she was headhunted to launch the UK sister site and social channels, implement a localised content strategy and build out the editorial team. She joined following a seven-year tenure at Grazia magazine, where she led front-of-book news, fashion features and shopping specials as fashion news and features editor. With experience in both print and digital across fashion and beauty, Hannah has over 16 years in the field as a journalist, editor, content strategist and brand consultant. Hannah has interviewed industry heavyweights such as designers including Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Anderson through to arbiters of taste including Katie Grand and Anna Dello Russo. A skilled moderator and lecturer specialising in the shift to digital media and e-commerce, Hannah’s opinion and work has been sought by the likes of CNBC, BBC, The Sunday Times Style, The Times, The Telegraph and, among many others. Hannah is often called upon for her take on trends, becoming known as a person with their finger of the pulse of what’s happening in the fashion space for stylish Brits. Hannah currently resides in Eastbourne with her photographer husband, incredibly busy son and highly Instagrammable cat.