VIRGIL ABLOH, or the new cool kid of Fashion
A trained architect (a fan of Le Corbusier and Rem Koolhaas), turned famous DJ (he was part of the #Been #Trill collective), this 35-year-old native of Chicago is now Kanye West’s Creative Director, as well as the designer of his own label, OFF-WHITE.
In 2009 he founded the RSVP GALLERY in Chicago, an amalgamation of art gallery and fashion boutique.
Later, he launched his own label (and blog) PYREX VISION (a nickname which evocates the process of transformation of cocaine) under which he launched a streetwear line: basketball shorts, flocked tee shirts and hooded pullovers with Caravaggio prints. His collection initially aroused controversy, before becoming a major success.
Backstages of the Off-White SS17 show
He founded OFF-WHITE in 2013, which was among the eight finalists shortlisted for the LVMH Young Designers Award in 2015.
“Frankly, my background in fashion wasn’t an orthodox one. I was born in 1980, and like every other suburban American kid, I was obsessed with skateboarding, hip-hop culture, streetwear, Michael Jordan and the Chicago bulls. In 2001, when I saw Marc Jacobs introduce graffiti in luxury wear with Stephen Sprouse, I thought to myself, that’s a great designer.”
The definition of Off-White, according to Virgil Abloh:
“I like the term casual luxury. I can say that I make street-ready luxury wear. I have a lot of admiration for the fashion industry and its history. But its environment changes quickly because of its young clientele. I founded this line to combine the modernity of youth – their extreme creativity as expressed on social networks and the internet, their wide knowledge of the subject – with a traditional process of creation and manufacturing. My studio is in Milan, and I am lucky to have access to factories of the highest quality.”
Virgil Abloh is a 30-something year old designer who is completely uninhibited when it comes to fashion and luxury…
whose codes he applies to streetwear, playing with logos, appropriations, direct quotations from other brands (this eliminating neverending disputes over copies). He constructs a visual language which represents the modern man and woman.
For example, he appropriated Levi’s jeans and Grateful Dead t-shirts. These appropriations are typical of streetwear, which attaches a great importance to the authenticity of cultural products:
“Anyone can make jeans, but no one can make jeans as interesting as the brand that invented jeans. Today's attitude is all about looking for the most authentic product instead of falling for a copy. It’s all about giving it a new life and placing it in a new context. This is what I love about fashion: we are not obliged to follow rules. We can also bend them.”
In summary, for Off-White, Virgil Abloh does not have limits.
He wants to make it a thriving brand but above all, a creative space which goes beyond the simple term ‘luxury’.
At the heart of the fashion world, Off-White is a new conceptual and aesthetic horizon which brings together the once separate categories of streetwear and high fashion.
Photoshoot of the Off-White SS17 Men collection in serie ||| NOIRE's studio
Redaction : serie ||| NOIRE
Sources : Le Monde, Numero magazine, L'express
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