How Virgil Abloh defined a grey area
Streetwear and Off-White, defining the grey area between black and white as Off-White.
DJ, founder of the clothing brand Off-White and the RSVP gallery, Kanye West’s former creative director… It’s amazing what Virgil Abloh has already achieved in his career, but this is just the beginning. He has recently been hired by Louis Vuitton as its new creative director for their men’s wear. This way, streetwear will definitely become more high fashion!
Virgil Abloh, born on the 30th of September 1980, studied at the university of Wisconsin-Madison as a civil engineer and at the Illinois Institute of Technology as an architect. But how did someone without any knowledge and experience in fashion become the founder of the worldwide known brand Off-White and creative director of Louis Vuitton?
The story of Virgil Abloh started when he was a student. On his graduation day, he met with Kanye West’s former manager, John Monopoly. The vision that Virgil Abloh had back then was the same vision Kanye West had: striving for a certain ‘cool’ that hasn’t been reached yet.
A combination between high-end fashion and streetwear was the vision of Virgil. He got inspired by a T-shirt of the brand Balenciaga. On this T-shirt, the sentence “JOIN A WEIRD TRIP” was printed together with a sphinx. This T-shirt was the same as all his other clothes that he had lying in his closet. But after that one T-shirt, he knew what he wanted to create.
The path to Off-White and Louis Vuitton didn’t happen in 1, 2, 3… The translation of Virgil’s vision on clothing started with his first clothing brand: Pyrex Vision. His first collection consisted of Ralph Lauren shirts with the word ‘PYREX’ printed on them. He sold these shirts for just a small sum of $500.
Pyrex Vision’s succes was huge, but Virgil quit Pyrex Vision after only one year to expand to Been Trill and eventually Off-White. The characteristics of his vision are still visible in his clothing, the prices have gone up and the clothing is produced by the same suppliers as Louis Vuitton and Valentino.
A new fashion generation
Virgil Abloh’s vision started when he was seeking the combination between authenticity, uniqueness and fashion for the consumer who gets its inspiration from other designers, like Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane. The consumer understood the designers’ vision but they couldn’t afford the clothing, however, times have changed.
Streetwear and high-end fashion have always been a contrast of each other, with an emphasis on ‘been’. The rise of technology and information lead a new generation through fashion trends where the consumer has become an influencer in terms of fashion.
Virgil Abloh, Off-White & Louis Vuitton
Virgil’s vision is defined in the name Off-White, the area between black and white stands for the combination of streetwear and high-end fashion. Off-White is an example of a good brand name, it’s definitely not easy to find one. Are you also looking for a powerful brandname? Make sure to read the blog: “How to name your clothing brand“.
Meanwhile, Off-White has several retail stores in Hong Kong, Tokio, London, Toronto… With upcoming stores in other world cities. Anywhere in the world, the name Off-White is known, especially because of collaborations with other brands such as Nike, Jimmy Choo, Moncler, Supreme…
Virgil was also a finalist for the LVMH Young Designers Prize in 2015 and he won the Urban Luxe Award during the British Fashion Awards in 2017. With 3,1 million followers on Instagram for Off-White and 1,6 million Instagram followers for himself, it’s undeniable that he has become one of the biggest name in the fashion industry.
On the 26th of March 2018, he became the new successor of Kim Jones as the creative director for Louis Vuitton, who now works at Dior. This is a big milestone for Virgil as well as the fashion industry, someone who perfectly knows why a product is defined as luxurious and who knows which products are worn by the consumers will definitely be a great asset for Louis Vuitton.
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