In case you haven’t heard, Virgil Abloh’s Off-White is one of the year’s hottest labels. Its deconstructionist collaborations and signature reflective yellow straps have quickly established a regular presence on many an instafeed. With about twelve boutiques worldwide and two in Hong Kong alone, the Milan based brand is highlighting a global demand for fashion that transcends the divide between streetwear and traditional designers.
Originally from Rockport, Illinois, Virgil Abloh earned degrees in both engineering and architecture prior to becoming creative director to Kanye West. He often expresses a desire to democratize the fashion industry by circumventing the historic gatekeepers. Where couture and prêt-à-porter once dominated the industry, fashion today is dictated by a younger more creative generation who value the mix of cheap basics with high end goods i.e. Levi’s with Birkins. Virgil Abloh, Demna Gvasalia (Vetements and Balenciaga) and Alessandro Michele (Gucci) are among the most influential designers bringing this sort of streetwear to today’s fashion forefront.
Virgil’s biggest strength lies in his understanding of his market.
Nike, Jimmy Choo, Moncler, Levi’s and Warby Parker are just a few brands Off-White has collaborated with. And with the recently announced Rimowa and Louis Vuitton collaborations on the way, some say that Abloh is putting the Off-White brand at risk of overexposure. Abloh however, remains unbothered. He’s confident in the authenticity of his brand and it’s partnerships as well as the loyalty of its consumers. According to Highsnobiety chief executive, David Fischer, “Virgil’s biggest strength lies in his understanding of his market.”
While Virgil may already have a lot going with Off-White, a DJ side gig, (DJ FLAT WHITE) and his multitude of collaborations, he’s also got big plans for the future, which include taking the helm of a major fashion house. Earlier this year, rumors had it that he was a candidate for the Givenchy Creative Director seat vacated by Riccardo Tisci. Those turned out to be false. However, with the recent announcement of two high profile LVMH collaborations (Rimowa and Louis Vuitton) something tells me that Virgil Abloh might be closer to his goal than he might want to let on.