Virgil Abloh has become one of the biggest names in the modern fashion world, and not for a lack of effort. He started his career as a creative director for Kanye West, directing for albums like 808s And Heartbreak, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch the Throne. A few years after interning at Fendi in 2009, he began designing his own clothes, starting two brands that would in turn lead him to creatively direct another big firm. His third was one of the biggest brands in the world. From Pyrex Vision to OFF-WHITE to Louis Vuitton, Abloh started with a vision and saw it through each step of the way.
Abloh started Pyrex Vision in late 2012, launching the first collection at RSVP, the Chicago boutique he opened with designer Don C a few years earlier. The idea behind Pyrex Vision was simple: Take regular Ralph Lauren flannels and Champion garments, screen print a number and a logo on the back and sell it for hundreds of dollars above the price it originally sold for (the Ralph/Pyrex flannel retailed for $550). Call it what you want, but with Abloh’s vision and the support of Kanye West, A$AP Rocky and others that called themselves the “#been#trill” crew, Pyrex Vision started a cultural revolution within streetwear that would continue on with Abloh’s legacy.
With Pyrex Vision selling out on nearly every release, Abloh was able to shelf the brand for his bigger and still active brand OFF-WHITE. The first collection launched for Spring/Summer 2014, and with this brand, Abloh told Style.com that his goal was to “merge street sensibilities in a proper fashion context.” In the years since this first launch, OFF-WHITE has done exactly that and plenty more, achieving the perfect balance between the pinnacle of streetwear within the youth while selling at nearly every luxury retailer next to fashion giants like Gucci, Celine and Louis Vuitton.
OFF-WHITE not only has given Abloh the opportunity to showcase more of his vision, but has led him to collaborate with almost every corner of the industry. Just in the past two years he released OFF-WHITE suitcases with RIMOWA, launched an art exhibit with Takashi Murakami, designed merch for Kids See Ghosts and Travis Scott and released an entire rug collection with IKEA, all while DJing shows at Lollapalooza, ASTROWORLD and Camp Flog Gnaw. Among these collaborations is one of the biggest launches he’s had at this point in his career: “The 10” sneaker collection released with Nike. Abloh and OFF-WHITE brought Nike their first must-need sneaker since the death of the Air Jordan Retro (queue “Facts (Charlie Heat Version)” by Kanye West). 10 pairs of sneakers, nine of which released within a two-hour span, that became nearly impossible to purchase with all the hype surrounding the release. The coveted sneakers can now be found selling on Stockx for a lovely price of $1,150 and solidified Abloh’s place as one of the biggest icons of modern streetwear.
At that point, Virgil Abloh had nearly reached the top of the fashion Mount Olympus. The only thing left to bring him up was his appointment as creative director of Louis Vuitton. The announcement of Kim Jones’s replacement broke the internet, and nearly every celebrity ran to Instagram to congratulate him. His first show included a rainbow runway the length of the Palais Royale Gardens, vibrant baggy clothes modeled by none other than Kid Cudi and Playboi Carti and ended with a tearful hug with his former Fendi co-intern Kanye West. Abloh certainly did not disappoint the viewers of his Spring/Summer 2019 show, especially with this keep-all bag that stole every eye in the vicinity.
With the continuation of OFF-WHITE, more incredible Louis Vuitton handbags (see the glow) and all of the random collaborations that make him so great, Virgil Abloh isn’t going anywhere. With each coming year, more people assume he’s reached his peak and with each year he surpasses the last. One of the leaders of the Instagram generation and the new king of luxury, Abloh will continue to be the most talked about figures of our time. Let’s just hope he can still make time to premiere unreleased music at his DJ sets.