OFF-WHITE Founder and creative director Virgil Abloh can now add sneaker designer to his steadily growing Fashion CV, as he unveils his collaboration project with Sports wear Giant, Nike. Although Virgil helped with Kanye’s Nike Air Yeezys before Kanye moved on to Adidas, this is the first time that he is taking the wheel on his own sneaker venture. It was not difficult for the Fashion guru to strip down the natural structure of the Nike sneakers and rebuilt them to a modern representation of his fashion line, OFF WHITE with his formal training of engineering and architecture. As a Designer, Creative director, and DJ, Virgil blends the worlds of Music, Fashion and Design to develop a multiplex of breaking the rules and traditional rebellion.
In a press release on the Nike official site, Virgil credits Basketball legend Michael Jordan as a superhero in his life. “Michael Jordan was larger than life — he was Superman to me. My entire design background and ethos came from the ‘90s.” He also states that as a teenager in Rockford, Illinois, some childhood friends and himself sketched sneaker ideas and mailed it to the Nike. Abloh also talked about how during his first visit with Nike, he stripped down a pair of triple-black Air Force 1 Low shoes using an X-ACTO knife and drew on them with markers. Staff members of his wore pairs of the one-offs during December’s Design Miami presentation, where he presented his OFF-WHITE furniture.
Now that I have gotten the pleasantries out-of-the-way, let me tell you why I am obsessed with Mr. Virgil Abloh. There is an unwavering admiration for someone who can take fashion into the palms of their hands and make it their own. Someone who isn’t afraid to break the rules, someone who isn’t afraid to look status pro quo in the face and laugh. Fashion is supposed to be fun, exciting, liberating and dangerous. What Virgil does with his ideas and how he incorporates them with his skills and background of architecture, is what we should do with our ideas and goals. Yes, this is a post about his collection with Nike, but let’s just take a step back and look at all his accomplishments that lead up to this moment.
Virgil is college educated– honey! With a Masters of Architecture and an undergraduate in Civil Engineering, Virgil collaborated with Kanye and Jay-Z as the Art Director for their joint album, Watch The Throne. SIDEBAR: The album cover was designed by former Givenchy’s creative director Riccardo Tisci. But OFF-WHITE is not his first attempt at fashion, Virgil founded Pyrex Vision, a street wear label in Chicago, before shutting it down after a year. (So anyone who has a collection item from that line… You’re fucking lucky.) It wasn’t until 2014, OFF WHITE was launched in Milan, Italy, a high-end Men and Women Fashion line. It wasn’t until the top of this year, when Virgil agreed to a lecture at Columbia University, that made me really take in who he is and what he is offering to the world. During the talk entitled, “Everything In Quotes”, Virgil covered the inspiration behind the YEEZUS album cover, how you don’t have to build buildings to be an architect and how important the youth culture is.
Now that Virgil has built a name, a brand and a legacy for himself, this collaboration with Nike will only strengthen his presences in the both the fashion and music industry. The initial five installments of “The Ten,” including the Air Jordan 1, Blazer, Air Presto, Air Max 90 and Air VaporMax, will be pre-released in New York City, Paris, London and Milan.
NYC: 9/9 – 9/13 at NikeLab 21 Mercer and DSM
London: 9/18 – 9/22 at NikeLab 1948 and DSM
Milan: 9/21 – 9/25 at NikeLab ST18
Paris: 9/26 – 9/30 at NikeLab P75
The full collection of “The Ten” will be available worldwide in November.
Gallery of the collection is available below.