Who is Virgil Abloh (in 500 words)



The son of Ghanaian immigrants, Virgil Abloh, grew up in Chicago idolizing Michael Jordan, and participating in an emerging culture that mixed rock and hip-hop, skateboarding and DJs, and sports brands and luxury fashion. As a civil engineering student, his career seemed to follow his father's dictation, although something must be said of his relationship with his mother, who was a seamstress by profession. Abloh cites a key moment in his career, his discovery of Caravaggio, the Baroque painter who made him approach art for the first time and turn his academic development towards architecture.

It's the year 2002, another Chicago resident is on the scene searching for Abloh: he had heard of an architect that dressed in Supreme and played DJ sets in fashion venues. The resident in question was none other than Kanye West, and from that encounter emerged a relationship of 14 years between them. Abloh served as assistant, stage designer, and creative director, not only for Kanye West, but for his music, and finally his brand, helping to guide in its evolution.

For almost a decade, Abloh's work was closely related to that of Kanye West's, he provided references, collaborated, and gave feedback to ideas. In an attempt to highlight his own work, Abloh published an artisic project in 2012 in the form of a video, where Joy Division is played in the background, while Jim Jones spray paints slogans on a blank, white wall. During the video, six youths can be seen posing with sweaters and t-shirts that depict various scenes by Caravaggio, plus bold lettering reading: Pyrex 23. Pyrex takes its name from a brand of kitchen products, also known in some neighborhoods as the glass pipes used for smoking crack, and 23 paid homage to Abloh's idol, Michael Jodran. Abloh had printed Pyrex 23 directly on some of these clothes as an artistic action with the intention to highlight a new youth culture.

Pyrex 23 spawned Abloh's Off-White brand, which is presented as "the gray area between black and white". Much like Pyrex 23, Off-White was instantaneously accepted by Abloh's new youth target, a generation that expected a luxury brand that knew how to speak directly to them; a post-tumblr era group where the ideas of an art creator, and trendsetter can come together as one. Because that is just what Virgil Abloh does; he uses Off-White as a canvas for his special projects, such as those of IKEA, Colette, or in this latest case: his signing-on as Creative Director of Louis Vuitton menswear, where he seems willing to tear down the barrier that separates streetwear from luxury fashion.

Among all his collaborations to date, his work with Nike for the “THE TEN” collection is one of the most notable; a redesign project of ten deconstructed, iconic Nike silhouettes. The latest addition is the Nike Vapormax FK, featuring the latest in Nike technology reinterpreted via Abloh's flair and innovative thinking. It will be on sale from April 14th, for more information, click "HERE“.