- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - While most established fashion houses would never dream of packing their bags and relocating to another city, for leading Parisian design collective Vetements moving their business to Zürich and starting off with a "clean slate" was much welcomed decision - and not solely for any tax reasons.
Chief Executive of Vetements, Guram Gvaslia said to BoF that his brother, Demna Gvasalia, Creative director at Vetements and Artistic Director at Balenciaga, sees the city as a "clean slate", which the brand was looking for. "We could not grow in Paris," explained Guram Gvasalia, CEO of Vetements to Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger (TA) last month. “Paris kills creativity. Its environment with the ‘bling bling’ is destructive. I’m done with the whole showing-off in fashion and the superficial glamour.” In addition, the purity of the city (in terms of fashion) appealed to him, as well as the city's location, making it an ideal travel hub for Gvasalia.
Why Vetements relocated its head office to Zürich
Vetements has successfully relocated its head office from Paris and Dusseldorf to Zürich's Binz quarter and relocated 40 of its employees, according to TA. The rest of the team is set to follow on and make the move by the end of the summer and will be housed in one four-storey building which is home to both the label's aterlier and archives. In addition, Demna Gvasalia has already moved into his new home by Lake Zürich.
Of course there are also a few monetary links tied to the relocation of Vetements as well. Switzerland has established itself as a tax haven for multinational companies over the years due to its advantageous tax regime which sees companies with foreign businesses receive favoured treatment. Leading fashion companies such as the Gucci Group have established their headquarters in the country, where also other companies such as Philipp Plein, Guess and Hugo Boss all have set up supply chain hubs in the country's southern region.
"Taxes are obviously another reason for the move,” said Guram Gvasalia to TA. “But not the most important one — otherwise we would have moved to Zug.” Zug, a neighbouring municipality to Zürich, is considered to be a long-time rival of Zürich in terms of offering special tax agreements. The move sees Vetements paying less taxes in Zürich than in Paris, although Gvasalia maintains there are other motives behind the move as well.
For example, Switzerland is also much more open to immigrants than France. For a company which employs people from all over the world, being able to bring in new designers is vital. "It takes 9 months to transfer a new employee to France,” pointed out Gvasalia. In addition the city home to its own small, yet vibrant fashion scene, one which Gvaslia hopes to expand on. "My goal is to put Zürich on the world map as a fashion city," he said to TA. "And my dream is that Switzerland will be linked to fashion in the future."
Homepage photo: By chensiyuan (chensiyuan) [GFDL ( http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Other photos: Vetements Fall 2017, by Gio Staiano