THE VIRGIL EFFECT: fashion, streetwear, art & music

by Jesus Reyes

It’s 2039. Congratulations! You’re reading this because you survived the zombie apocalypse. And if fashion still exists in your society, chances are you’ve heard of the iconic American fashion designer Virgil Abloh. He has taken the fashion world by storm.

How? The V.I.R.G.I.L. effect:


V is for Vuitton: In March 2018, Abloh became the first African-American artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection. His first show featured his Louis Vuitton sneaker paired with an urban-infused array of jumpsuits.


I is for Internship. Abloh’s humble fashion beginning was as an intern at Fendi in 2009 with rapper Kanye West where they were each paid $500 a month. This served as the catalyst to their artistic collaboration that launched Abloh’s career by founding Off-White, a high end streetwear, in 2013.


R is for Rihanna. Among the celebrities who would embrace Abloh’s vision for Louis Vuitton men’s, Rihanna stood out. As a preview of his Spring 2019 collection, she wore several of the pieces at the historic debut at the house before they hit the runway. Her look: monochromatic white look, an oversize blouse, and baggy trousers with pointy toe heels.


G is for Gray. Abloh defines Off-White as, “the gray area between black and white as the color Off-White.” It also refers to breaking down old barriers. Like his background as a DJ and music producer, he mixes concepts of streetwear, luxury, music, travel, and art. Hovering quotes has been his iconic signature.


I is for Influential. In 2018, he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. He was one of only two designers to be included in the list; Christian Siriano was the other one. High fashion is starting to trend towards streetwear, and the magazine recognized Abloh as one of the pioneers.


L is for Life. His life outside fashion includes his wife of 10 years, Shannon Sundberg, whom he met in high school. He has a house in Lincoln Park, Chicago that he shares with his wife and their two children, Lowe and Grey.


All in all, Abloh’s mass appeal stems from his ability to reach to the youth, how he makes them feel they are listened to, and that he speaks for them. Because no matter the timeline, every generation just wants to be heard. It’s a no brainer.

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