"FASHION" by Virgil Abloh
Summary: A pioneer in the deconstructed look, and creator of the iconic brand Off-White we explore the Chicago born native's rise to fame in this article.
An Over-Hyped "INTRODUCTION"
He is one of the hardest working designers in architecture and fashion. He has collaborated with Nike, Fendi, Kanye West, Louis Vuitton. He is an accomplished architect, artist, businessman, and DJ. We've scrolled tirelessly through his Instagram feed in a state of admiration - and still didn't get it. We wanted to know more about the man responsible for so much of the fashion trends proliferating into sneaker culture. We wanted to know more about "VIRGIL ABLOH"
At first glance, Virgil's style focuses on the use of Halvetica print, "air quotes," and zip ties. But it goes deeper than that.
Abloh chose the Halvetica font since it has become so ubiquitous that it’s almost invisible.
Abloh: "You can hack shoes; put your own personality into them. And they are equally as valuable as some random person scrawling something on the sole."
"Words are presented in quotations as citations to emphasize the perception of the garment." -Marco Fabrega III
His signature mark also consists of a three-dimensional addition of his four-way arrows, creating a cross..
Hang Tags & Zip Ties
Why the hang tie?
It serves as a fashion statement and a counterfeit tool. The design flourish has certainly become one of the signature staples of the designer's work.
Should you cut the hang tie?
Many people disagree on this. Some sneakerheads who resell shoes agree that it's not the best move when it comes to re-sell value. Others believe the tag should be cut as it interferes with the practicality and walk-ability of the shoe.
A Career in Zip Ties and Quotation Marks
Abloh: "These shoes are icons. They've transcended into another space; that's what the whole ethos of 'Off-White' [is]. Every time I'm annoying you guys with quotes all over everything, it's that I'm searching for a new tool to communicate and perfect a mature way of being disruptive."
All these elements makes us, here at Leather Care Supply throw our hands up and say...
...And whether you find the elements annoying or chic, you can't deny that the designer's signature styles have broken into the mainstream.
Virgil was born in 1980 in Rockford, Illinois. His parents were from Ghana. His mother was a seamstress and his dad managed a paint factory. Virgil attended Boylan Catholic High School, graduating in 1998. Although he was fond of DJing, his parents wanted him to go into a "serious profession" - and so he started studying civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin.
Virgil Abloh DJs at Coachella. He went to school for architecture and civil engineering.
Abloh: “I figured if you could build the tallest building, you could design a spoon, you know?”
Meeting Kanye West
Paris Fashion week 2009 -Kanye and Virgil outside the Comme des Garçons show in Paris.
Abloh's rise to fashion super-stardom would have been different without Kanye West in the picture. Before becoming a world renowned fashion designer, he started in Chicago street fashion, then entered the world of international fashion in 2009 with an internship at Fendi alongside rapper Kanye West. The two banded together to form an artistic collaboration that would accelerate Abloh's career exponentially into founding the Oﬀ-White brand.
In 2010 Virgil got a chance to collaborate with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, whom he met during the creation of the album cover "Graduation" in 2010.
Making Fashion Accessible to All
One of the principles Abloh stands for is making fashion accessible to all.
Abloh: "We were a generation that was interested in fashion and weren’t supposed to be there. We saw this as our chance to participate and make current culture. In a lot of ways, it felt like we were bringing more excitement than the industry was.”
Abloh: "Off White isn't a brand that excludes people at the door."
Abloh is the first African-American to be appointed artistic director at Louis Vuitton, the iconic French luxury fashion house.
Pyrex Vision - First Steps into Profitability
In 2012, Abloh launched his first fashion label, Pyrex Vision. "He purchased Rugby Ralph Lauren flannel shirts, screen-printed on them, and sold them for $550 (a 700 per cent markup)." -Fashionbeans
Pyrex Vision clothing photo by Ali Express
Abloh: “On a practical level, we were literally taking a [Rugby] Ralph Lauren shirt or a Champion sweatshirt and printing a graphic over it… But it was more than that. I wanted to insinuate an emotion around clothing, and that became a metaphor to represent what I thought was happening among young kids who were reinventing fashion – taking clothes and wearing them, maybe, in an ironic way or wearing them in a way that was surprising, transcending what the designer might have intended.”
We've seen ASAP Rocky wear this a lot
Virgil Abloh Awards 🎖️
2011 - Grammy Nomination - "Watch the Throne" - art director for Jay-Z and Kanye West's music album
2013 - Off-White - brand launch focusing on high-end street-wear
2015 - Off-White places as a finalist in the LVMH Prize
2017 - Abloh wins International Designer of the Year at the GQ Men of the Year Awards
2018 - Abloh listed on Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world
In 2019, Abloh was named to The Council of Fashion Designers of America's board of directors. The council aims to promote the fashion industry in America.
Partnership with Nike
Abloh: "I was very much inspired by the aesthetic and style of track and field athletes. As a result, I invited some of Nike's elite track and field champions to participate in my SS19 Off-White runway show."
In 2019, Virgil invited athletes to participate in the launch of a new collection of sneakers for Nike.
Partnership with IKEA
Throughout 2013-2017, Oﬀ-White collaborated with the Swedish furniture company IKEA to design furniture for apartments and houses.
The limited collection released in 2019 will be named Markerad, a Swedish word meaning clear cut; crisp.
A Global View
With the help of conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, Abloh worked to create a line to focus the attention on the pragmatic immigration, social integration, and globalization dimensions. He worked with Holzer again in December 2017 to design T-shirts for Planned Parenthood in relation to Washington's Women's March. Rihanna was the ﬁrst ever to wear Abloh's clothing prior to the show. Steve Lacy, Playboi Carti, A$AP Nast, Dev Hynes, and Kid Cudi showed up to walk for the fashion show.
Is Virgil Abloh married?
Yes, to Shannon Abloh, his high school sweetheart. They were married in 2009 and have two children Lowe and Grey. Virgil travels 350,000 miles a year for his work. -Wikipedia
Virgil Abloh's Shoe Releases
Nike Off White
Original Releases - Imagine buying them at these price!
Creative Director of Louis Vuitton
Virgil was appointed as Louis Vuitton’s artistic director in March 2018. He succeeded Kim Jones. Abloh is the first African American to be creative director of Louis Vuitton, the French fashion house.
Visit Virgil's Louis Vuitton collection here. Bring money.
Is Virgil a Sneakerhead?
Abloh: "In an ironic twist, I'm not that much of a sneakerhead. I wear the same sneakers everyday. It's a genre and it's a canvas to do a design project, and that's what I wanted to come through. These products are our hope to be timeless."
- Ethan Jessurum