Virgil Abloh is actually a studied architect, but is considered one of the most promising fashion designers of his generation. With his label Off-White he cleverly plays with the fusion of streetwear and luxurious fashion. His trademarks include large-scale lettering, the use of quotation marks and the appearance of barrier tape.
Since March 2018, Abloh has also been the Art Director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear and one of the first designers with African roots to occupy such a position with a French fashion house.
Virgil Abloh was born on 30 September 1980 in Rockford, Illinois. His parents had previously immigrated to the United States from Ghana. His father worked as a manager, while his mother earned her living as a seamstress. Abloh learned sewing from her at an early age.
After graduating from school, however, Virgil Abloh initially took a different direction and studied civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His bachelor’s degree in 2002 was followed four years later by a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. During his architectural studies, a building designed by architect Rem Koolhaas was erected on the campus of his university. This ultimately aroused his interest in fashion. He therefore completed an internship at Fendi in Rome in 2009 – at the same time as Kanye West. Abloh and West quickly attracted the attention of the fashion world with their fresh designs.
Virgil Abloh became known at the side of Kanye West
In 2010 Kanye West made the young Virgil Abloh Creative Director of his label DONDA. In this position he designed the artwork for the album “Watch the Throne” by Kanye West and Jay-Z, among others. He was nominated for a Grammy in the category Best Recording Package. Abloh founded his first own company in 2011. With Pyrex Vision, he bought Ralph Lauren’s out-of-date clothes for $40, provided them with graphics and offered them for prices starting at $550.
Because Abloh had no commercial interests, however, but only wanted to conduct an artistic experiment, he closed the company again a year later. Instead, he founded his fashion house Off-White in Milan in 2013. His trademark became the introduction of streetwear into the luxury fashion sector. The first collections consisted exclusively of men’s clothing, but in 2014 Abloh also designed fashion for women. The label also entered into various collaborations with brands such as Nike, Levi’s and Moncler.
As Art Director at Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh made a breakthrough in the fashion industry
Abloh made his final breakthrough in the fashion industry when he was appointed Art Director for Men’s Fashion at Louis Vuitton in March 2018. Shortly afterwards, he presented his first collection for the renowned company at Fashion Week in Paris. There the pieces were performed by musicians such as Playboi Carti and A$AP Nast.
In addition, Abloh continued to collaborate with other companies. He designed the furniture collection Markerad for IKEA. Among other things, this includes a showcase in which the buyer can store and display his sneakers. In addition, Abloh provided a special edition of the classic yellow IKEA shopping bag with the SCULPTURE lettering.
Quotes of Virgil Abloh
There's no line between a designer and consumer.
I do fashion to tell a narrative.
As a young designer in tune with culture, I'm interested in the lifeline of trends.
Everything I do references something that influenced me.
I like to look at fashion and relate it to the time when it was happening.
I just wanna start a brand that inspires and is geared towards youth.
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