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Virgil Abloh

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Virgil Abloh
Virgil Abloh at Columbia GSAPP.jpg
Virgil performing in New York City, New York on February 6, 2017
BornVirgil Abloh
(1980-09-30)September 30, 1980
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, Illinois Institute of Technology
  • designer
  • entrepreneur
  • architect
  • engineer
Shannon Sundberg (m. 2009)

Virgil Abloh is a 37 year old Chicago born graphic designer, DJ, and entrepreneur. Virgil is the founder of the popular Milan-based fashion label, Off-White, which produces creative and high end streetwear.[1] He is also credited for being the creative director of Kanye West's company, DONDA, which is well known for having a large impact on the music and streetwear community. [2]

Early Life and Education[edit | edit source]

Abloh's parents are Ghanaian immigrant from the Volta Region's Ewe tribe.[3] He was raised in Rockford, Illinois where he attended Boylan Catholic High School. He then received his Masters in Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and his undergraduate in Civil Engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. [4] Virgil’s Chicago upbringing gave him the opportunity to meet the famed rapper, Kanye West, who was also living in Chicago at the time. However, as Kanye began to build up his career Virgil decided to skip his final critiques at the University of Wisconsin to have an interview with Kanye’s manager, John Monopoly, in 2003. Fourteen years later, Virgil would become Kanye’s creative director. [5] [6]

Career[edit | edit source]

Abloh has an extremely busy and demanding career. While working for Kanye West, Virgil interned at Fendi Roma in 2009, before launching Pyrex Vision, the idea that would soon push Abloh into the spotlight and would influence him to produce the quality streetwear brand, Off-White. Abloh stated, "[Pyrex] wasn’t made to be a clothing brand”, rather it was made to be an art form. Therefore the line of apparel Pyrex offered was discontinued after just on year.[7] Abloh was also the art director for the 2011 Jay-Z / Kanye West album Watch the Throne,[8] for which he was nominated a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package.[9] He even worked alongside producers to create pieces for the streetwear brand, Been Trill. In the mid 2000s Abloh and Kanye fashioned a clothing brand called "pastelle", although it never achieved completion and was not officially launched. [10] In 2014 Virgil then introduced the Milan-based fashion label, Off-White.[11][7] In 2014 Virgil dropped his first collection from his Off-White label, which was a great success. [12] Abloh would then go from retail stores in Hong Kong and Tokyo to online marketing available on a global scale. [13] Along with Abloh’s extensive work with his fashion labels and various collaborations with large companies like Nike, he is also using his architectural skills to do collaborations the large furnishing giant, Ikea. [14] [15] Now Virgil is even designing costumes for the New York city ballet and directing music videos for the popular rapper Lil Uzi Vert. [16] [17]

Collaborations[edit | edit source]

  • Ikea: Virgil Abloh’s collaboration with Ikea was official announced on June 7th, 2017 in Älmhult, Sweden. [18] This collaboration offers the creative influence of Abloh to make Ikea’s furniture more appealing to a younger audience now moving into their own homes. [19] In 2018 the collection will finally be completed and shown to the public and in 2019 the furniture may even be displayed in Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. [20]
  • Nike: Abloh’s most recent Nike collaboration is dubbed “the ten”. The idea behind this collaboration is to redesign ten famous Nike silhouettes, including: the Air Jordan 1, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air VaporMax, Nike Air Max 90, Nike Zoom Fly, Nike Air Max 97, Nike Hyperdunk, Nike Air Force 1, Nike Blazer and the Converse Chucks Taylors.[21] The shoes in this Nike collaboration were pre-released through the multiple NikeLab locations, such as London, Milan, and Paris. [22] The Shoes were then officially released to the public on the Nike SNKRS app on November 20th, 2017. [23] The Virgil and Nike partnership was so popular that the shoes sold out almost instantaneously. The prices of some of these shoes like the, "Air Jordan 1 OG", retail from around $200 USD, however many are now being resold for prices over $1000 USD. [24] The Virgil and Nike collaboration became so successful that Abloh is set to be awarded the 2017 Footwear News Achievement Award for the Shoe of the Year.[25]

Off-White[edit | edit source]

What is possibly Virgil Abloh’s greatest success is the extremely popular and exclusive brand, Off-White. Off-White was launched in 2014 and manufacturing is based in Milan, however, Virgil does not see it as a designer brand rather as “one big art project”.[26] [27] The brand is often associated with its simplistic crosswalk pattern, also seen in Virgil's discontinued brand, Pyrex Vision. The inspiration from this design is illustrated from Abloh’s Chicago roots. Virgil’s brand also tends to use quotations. [28] In an interview with Abloh, 032c magazine stated, “Quotation marks are one of the many tools that Abloh uses to operate in a mode of ironic detachment”. [29] Off-White now publically sells their attire in a total of 11 stores worldwide and is soon opening a twelfth in New York.[30] Off-White advertises a wide array of pricey seasonal collections releasing every year. For instance, Off-White’s Folk Spring/Summer collection in 2018 had a price range from $87 to $333 USD.[31] Abloh explains his reasoning behind these high prices during a conference at Apolis’ TriBeCa store, “An Off-White T-shirt is like 200 bucks, and a hoodie is like $300. Don’t let Zara and Uniqlo educate you on the price of a garment because that’s not fashion… Of course, my brand is inspired by the youth, but I wouldn’t say that it’s directly made for the youth.” Virgil believes that one cannot put on a price on art, therefore there cannot be a predetermined price on a piece clothing. [32]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Pajon-Leite, Andres. "Virgil Abloh".
  2. Sayej, Nadja (25 March 2017). "Meet Virgil Abloh, Creative Director for Kanye West's Creative Agency".
  3. "Ghana's Virgil Abloh Leading a Revolution With Off White" Check |url= value (help). 15 December 2017.
  4. Rock, Micheal (6 February 2017). ""Everything in Quotes" at Columbia GSAPP".
  5. Baron, Zach (1 August 2016). "The Life of (Virgil) Abloh". GQ.
  6. Mazurek, Brooke (19 April 2017). "From Kanye to Kings of Leon, Why Artists Need Creative Directors In The Age of Instagram".
  7. 7.0 7.1 Wolf, Cameron (5 October 2015). "Off-White Designer Virgil Abloh Has Emerged From Kanye's Shadow".
  8. Watch the Throne (PDF digital booklet). Jay-Z and Kanye West. Universal Music Group. 2011.
  9. "Complete List of Nominees for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards | E! Online UK". Ca.eonline.com. November 30, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  10. "abloh kanye west designer vs creator". hypebeast.com. August 28, 2017. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  11. Welch, Will (24 September 2015). "Meet Virgil Abloh, the Mastermind Behind Off-White". GQ.
  12. Welch, Will (24 September 2015). "Off-White's Virgil Abloh Is the Creative Director Everyone Wants to Be". GQ.
  13. Estiler, Keith (7 July 2016). "Here's a First Look Inside the Upcoming Off-White™ Tokyo Flagship Store". Revolt.
  14. Sawyer, Jonathan (16 October 2017). "Here's Your Best Look Yet at the OFF-WHITE x IKEA Rug Collab". HighsNobeity.
  15. Danforth, Chris (25 October 2017). "Here's Everything We Know About Virgil Abloh x Nike "The Ten"". HighsNobeity.
  16. Cadogan, Domonic (5 September 2017). "Virgil Abloh directs Lil Uzi Vert's horror-inspired new vid". Dazed.
  17. Acevedo, Kai (26 July 2017). "Virgil Abloh will design costumes for the New York City Ballet Fall Gala". Revolt.
  18. Dandridge-Lemco, Ben (7 June 2017). "OFF-WHITE And IKEA Have Announced A New Collaboration". Fader.
  19. Xie, Jenny (17 October 2017). "Virgil Abloh teases a rug from Ikea and Off-White collaboration". Curbed.
  20. McGrath, Katherine (20 December 2017). "Virgil Abloh Will Be the Subject of a New Exhibition at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art". Architecture Digest.
  21. Danforth, Chris (21 August 2017). "Here's All 10 Virgil Abloh x Nike Sneakers". Highsnobiety.
  22. "Virgil Abloh and Nike Announce New Design Project "The Ten"". Nike. 21 August 2017.
  23. "Nike SNKRS To Release Full OFF WHITE "The Ten" On November 20th". 19 November 2017.
  24. "OFF-WHITE x Air Jordan 1". 19 November 2017.
  25. McGarrigle, Lia (30 October 2017). "Virgil Abloh's Nike Air Jordan 1 Wins the 2017 "Shoe of the Year" Award". Highsnobiety.
  26. Hughes, Aria (17 November 2016). "Virgil Abloh, Tom Sachs on the Fashion Industry, Trump and Creative Processes". WWD.
  27. Will Welch (24 September 2015). "Off-White's Virgil Abloh Is the Creative Director Everyone Wants to Be". GQ. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  28. "Is Virgil Abloh on His Way to Gaining Exclusive Rights in His Use of Quotes?". The Fashion Law. 26 September 2017.
  29. Sajonas, Felson (26 September 2017). "Could Virgil Abloh Trademark His Use of Quotes?". Hypebeast.
  30. Wolf, Cam (8 January 2018). "Buying Off-White Just Got a Lot Easier". GQ.
  31. Lee, Nicholas (5 February 2018). "Folk Spring/Summer 2018 Offers Pared-Down Wardrobe Essentials". Hypebeast.
  32. FitzPatrick, Hayley (18 November 2016). "Designer Compares Zara and Uniqlo to McDonald's Chicken Nuggets". Yahoo.

Category:Living people Category:American people of Ghanaian descent Category:American record producers

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