Behind the brand:
Born in 1980 to parents from Ghana, Abloh didn’t know what he wanted to do early on. He earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002 and studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He recalls his professor stating that “only 3% of you will build buildings” and he thought “touche, because I don’t care to.” After graduating from school he worked at an architecture firm for two years before shifting to art and fashion. Later on in 2009, he opened RSVP Gallery in Chicago, an art gallery and menswear boutique. It was that year that Abloh joined Kanye’s creative agency Donda as it’s creative director, overseeing projects like stage shows and concert merchandise. Kanye and Abloh knew each other years back from being around Chicago. They both rose in stature around the same time.
"Irony is a tool for modern creativity."
Virgil Abloh is a celebrity. These days just about everyone wants to be associated with Abloh. The skateboard kid from Chicago grew up listening to Nirvana, Wu-Tang and Beastie Boys. It is his teenage years that dictates his artistic direction today. He’s a DJ, Founder of one of the hottest fashion labels in the world, Off-White, and Kanye’s Creative Director. One of the drivers of the street to runway phenomena happening in the fashion world over the past few years, Abloh is not slowing down.
Abloh launched his first fashion brand in 2012, Pyrex Vision, focusing on t-shirts. The brand didn’t last long as Abloh had bigger plans. In 2013, he launched the Milan based brand Off-White. The new brand had quick buyers to the vision with retailers like Colette and Barney signing on. Off-White is a fashion label rooted in current culture specialising in a genre of high fashion streetwear inspired clothing. Off-White has the who’s who of pop culture vouching for its credibility with artists like Jay-Z and A$AP Rocky being early adopters.
Abloh has now expanded the brand in collaborations with brands like Nike. Future projects with Warby Parker and even IKEA will be directed at reaching Off-White’s core demographic, millennials. This month Off-White announced a new line of more affordable t-shirts and sweaters under the “For All” line. Making the brand more reachable to a wider audience. Add artist to the list of titles as he is working with Takashi Murakami in a collaboration of art pieces. The brands lives from Abloh’s obsession with inspiration from the youth. This tastemaker is only just getting started. His influence in culture in fashion is set, now he expands to other elements where he will no doubt remain at the forefront of innovation and relevancy.
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