Written by By Matt Argersinger, CNN
Virgil Abloh is one of the most influential fashion designers in the world right now. He co-founded Off-White and Azzedine Alaia with Kanye West, is a creative director for Louis Vuitton and has created several huge pop-up stores for H&M. He’s also an influential earner, working with the likes of Nike and sportswear giant Adidas.
He’s got many hats, yet to see Abloh bend to his many roles at once would be foolish. The man is singularly dedicated to his vision and visionary figures like Kanye West are just as much of a partner and fan as they are employed hands. As Abloh puts it, “They were always just a wild, expensive, beautiful dream to me, so I just tagged along for the ride, you know?”
Abloh’s work in the Nike Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 3 is an obvious extension of the work that made him famous. What seems more daring in Off-White are the fabrics he tackles: collaboration with luminaries like Supreme and Supreme x Vetements as well as his eponymous line of clothes and accessories. He’s well known for his use of prints, cotton blends and unconventional materials like snakeskin, leather and wood, from the tool blades to the sandals to the accents. This expansive vision gives Abloh a chance to always be pushing the envelope.
He’s not shy about it: “If I’m working with a motorcycle company, it’s like looking at a car. [A motorcycle] is a size-exclusive thing but [a fashion example] is something that you can control yourself: you can make them look ‘okay,’ and they have a sense of ownership. And you’re like: how the hell are they a motorcycle? You’re in the same department, so it’s like: how do you do that? It comes with a toy factor that we’d just as soon not do with other things. It comes from, for me, a love of the object itself.”