It should’ve been a big year for Gallery Dept. I mean, it kinda was, given the Lanvin collab and constant celeb co-signs. But founder Josué Thomas is apparently getting out of the clothing biz anways.
Thomas announced his brand’s end in a lengthy and (intentionally) ambiguous letter uploaded in pieces to Gallery Dept.’s Instagram.
“From the beginning, Gallery Dept.’s focus has been making the best product, while easing the burden of resource consumption,” Thomas states. “Because each case is unique and deserves a unique solution, I am choosing to continue the practice of being an artist and withdraw myself from the fashion industry.
Or, as he said on his personal account, “#retired.”
Thomas is leaving behind a brand with a rabid fanbase of devotees, many of whom couldn’t believe that the brand was actually shuttering when Gallery Dept. uploaded a “STORE CLOSING!” collage leading up to an “EVERYTHING MUST GO” video on September 11.
Turns out, he meant it.
Given that there’s still plenty of stock on Gallery Dept.’s web store and its international stockists, it’s likely that Thomas’ brand is simply not going to produce any new goods and its website will remain open until the current selection is cleared out.
Fans, of course, are clamoring for a clearances sale. Gallery Dept.’s clothing was never “affordable,” per se, but that’s the point, according to Thomas.
“If the first thing you look at is the price, it’s going to alter your thinking about a piece,” he said last year. “I’d rather people engage with the clothing first.”
From Migos to Virgil Abloh, Gallery Dept. had no shortage of famous fans. Thomas’ paint-splattered T-shirts and hand-finished flare jeans indicated a new type of American luxury, one authentically born of street culture but elevated to hush-hush prestige by its many influential admirers.
Gallery Dept. presented an intentionally obfuscated facade to weed out core obsessives from casual observers, its garments priced more like artworks than wearables. No surprise that Thomas was close with the equally muted Chrome Hearts, with whom he occasionally collaborated.
Now, aficionados know better than to think that Thomas is on perma-vacation.
He’s already got a new venture — Le Bar Dé Music De La Galerie — in the works, which is presumably a combo art gallery/music venue/watering hole.
And despite the implication that he’s removing himself entirely from the apparel industry by closing down Gallery Dept., it’s pretty likely that Thomas will eventually return to the realm of wearable finery in some form or another.
Highsnobiety has reached out to Thomas and Gallery Dept. for further comment.