Follow Vogue Arabia

Balenciaga’s Demna Opens Up About Facing Discrimination at a Paris Restaurant Because of His Clothing



Creative director of Balenciaga and co-founder of Vetements, Demna, has never shied away from speaking his mind on his social media platform. After all, it’s honesty that creates a sense of community online, isn’t it? If you follow the Instagram handle @demnagram, a supportive page that helps amplify the designer’s voice to his fans, you may already be familiar with his daily musings, which touch upon his most candid thoughts, from the reason he hates the word ‘glamour’ to what ‘couture’ really means to him.

@Demnagram’s latest post touches upon discrimination, looking back at an interview where the designer highlighted the issue with a personal story, where he was denied entry into a Paris restaurant on account of his attire. “People are sometimes scared of my look, my silhouette. They judge me on that because they’re not able to categorize me,” Demna shared in the conversation. Speaking about the spot he was trying to enter for a meal, he said, “I never really go to those ‘chic’ places – I mostly cook at home – and they didn’t want to let me in because of the way I was dressed. They were like, ‘Chez nous, c’est pas possible!’ I was like [incredulous], ‘Pardon?’ I was wearing Head-to-toe Balenciaga! Had the other person I was with not said, ‘It’s OK; he’s with us’, they wouldn’t have let me in.”

Musing about the episode, Demna also spoke about often feeling like the odd one out, and how he plans to use his talents in the fashion field to help others like him change this narrative. “That’s the story of my life – I don’t fit in. People who go to ‘chic’ places like that don’t have the freedom to look the way they want and I think my career will always be dedicated to proving the opposite.” Because at the end of the day, each of us should have the free will to dress as we please, regardless of labels and social standing. “Unless they know who I am – Demna, creative director at Balenciaga – they won’t let me in. But the moment they know that, the way I choose to look suddenly becomes acceptable. That’s what’s so unfair. I hate that, and I don’t want to be a part of it. I’ll never be hungry enough to have to wear a tuxedo to eat. I’d be happier going to McDonalds wearing my rubber boots. That is my aspirational lifestyle – just to be who I am.”

View All
Vogue Collection