Vetements and Reebok's collaborative sneakers are always pricey, but its latest $2,000 shoe can be viewed more as a piece of art than anything. "The Masterpiece" is an Instapump Fury splashed with paint for a treatment that'll be unique to each pair made. That arguably makes its hefty price tag more reasonable than other Vetements creations, but it's hard not to think the shtick is getting old.
Vetements has routinely made the Instapump Fury intentionally ugly, from several $760 pairs adorned with graffiti to all-over logo prints that fetched $950. It's clearly still working from a financial standpoint, as the most recent graffiti pair sold out. But as an uninvested onlooker, these purposeful monstrosities are getting old. Vomiting paint onto a pair does little to excite me, and the idea of dropping two racks on an Instapump Fury is still insane despite any artistic justification. I'm dying to know who's actually buying these things and how corny their wardrobe is.
It's somehow sustainable? — Vetements teased the sneaker on its Instagram account and said it's dropping at some point this year as part of its spring/summer 2021 collection. Hypebeast says it's a part of Vetements' approach to sustainability — although exactly how is unclear. Perhaps the paint is leftover from another project?
"The problem with sustainability today is that people look at it from the wrong perspective," CEO Guram Gvasalia told Vogue in 2018. "Since my first-ever interview I’ve been saying this: the basic thing of economics is the supply meeting demand. If you go to a shop and you see something on sale, it means it’s been overproduced."
Perhaps, given the nature of this painted sneaker, it'll be produced in small quantities — and if it does sell out it can be considered sustainable by Gvasalia's definition. Still, the idea of this being a sustainable sneaker sounds like a stretch. It sounds more like a nice thing to say about something so exorbitantly priced.
Maybe I'm a hater — If this does indeed sell out, as seems likely, who am I to say that Vetements is growing tired with its Reebok collab? But the days of ugly fashion seem numbered, and I'd much rather see more unambiguous beauty from sneakers going forward. Especially if I'm going to be asked to drop so much coin.