The Rise of Virgil Abloh

Words by Karan Teli

The other day I was in Selfridges, right in the heart of Central London. Outside of Harrods, Selfridges is probably the most famous and well respected store in the whole of the UK. I take the lift to Menswear, the doors open and the first 3 brands I see; Givenchy, YEEZY and Off-White.

Off White, created by Virgil Abloh. I was surprised to see Virgil’s brand right at the forefront of Menswear, next to one of the most prestigious high fashion brands ever, and next to a brand by probably the most influential fashion designer in the world right now.

But then again, I wasn’t surprised. The Ten Off White x Nike collaboration has created an uproar and hype for trainers that we haven’t seen in a very long time. Resale numbers are hitting upwards of £1000, numbers we haven’t seen on Nike trainers since the Red October’s. Then I remembered and thought to myself; ‘Wow, 4 years ago I remember Virgil making Been Trill and Pyrex Vision, collaborating with Hood By Air’.

It shows the journey and progression Virgil has been on. From going to a well-respected and hype Streetwear brand (in 2013, Been Trill and Pyrex were EVERYWHERE), to becoming one of the biggest, most respected and sought out High Fashion brands in the world right now, is a testament to Virgil’s hard work, passion and most importantly; creativity.

Like Kanye told us a few years ago, he and Virgil were rejected by Fendi in 2008 as interns, coming forward with ideas that are plastered all over the fashion world right now, all the way from High Fashion down to the cheapest high street stores. That clearly didn’t stop either of them. Seeing Virgil’s journey is very inspirational for upcoming creatives.

Knowing you have to take small steps, get rejected, get backlash (‘I ain’t really fucking with that Been Trill’ – A$AP Rocky on ‘Multiply’ in 2015, ultimately ending the relevance of the brand), but keep going and you can end up with the biggest collaboration of 2017 and be at the forefront of High Fashion in Selfridges.

All the while, Virgil still keeps his ear to the streets, DJing regularly, teasing new music during his sets and was the opening DJ for Travis’s Birds Eye View Tour.

Rumoured to be dropping in 2018 is a Converse x Off White collaboration plus lord knows what else Virgil has up his sleeve. What I do know is this; the ceiling is incredibly high for Virgil and Off White.


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