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Style & Living Fashion

Virgil Abloh is the Designer You Need to Know This Summer

Study up on the red-hot, Off-White designer. 

By Adele Chapin
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's Relationship Through the Years

Designer Virgil Abloh made fashion news practically every day this week. From dressing a Hadid for the CFDA awards show to opening a new store in Hong Kong to reimaging one of the most world's recognizable bags, he's got a lot going on. But that's par for the course for Virgil. Here's a quick rundown on what to know about one of fashion's brightest rising stars:

1. He's a DJ/Architect/Civil Engineer/Designer/Furniture Designer

If fashion gets boring, the designer has a lot of careers to fall back on. Virgil grew up in Rockford, Illinois, according to a GQ profile, and received an engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin while DJing on the weekends. He then studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s graduate school, before meeting Kanye West (more on that later) and falling into fashion. Since then, he's worked on furniture collections, books, and lectures.

2. He Goes Way Back With Kanye West

Kanye West first hired a 22-year-old Virgil in 2003, and ever since then he's been Kanye's "creative director" — although he'll never reveal exactly what that means. “Virgil is one of the smartest people I know,” Kanye told the Financial Times.

3. His Brand Off-White Is Reinventing Streetwear

Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh is following in the footsteps of streetwear brands like Supreme, but with collections that show during Paris Fashion Week. Virgil started the line in 2013 with menswear, creating a frenzy around graphic tees with diagonal black and white stripes. He's since expanded into womenswear, opened stores across the world, and earned a nom for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers in 2015. This winter, his name came up in the rumor mill about who would replace Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy. It ended up going to Chloe's Claire Waight Keller, which means more time for Virgil to work on Off-White and all those other projects.

4. He was Bella Hadid's date to the CFDAs (and designed her look!)

We want to steal it all— the hot pink blazer dress with an in-your-face belt, the pink lunch bag purse, the PVC sandals, the bangs!

@virgilabloh and @bellahadid at the 2017 CFDA Fashion Awards. #virgilabloh #bellahadid #CFDAAwards

A post shared by UpscaleHype (@upscalehype) on

5. He makes your middle-school-era Umbro shorts look cool.

Cool enough for both Justin Bieber and Bella to wear Virgil's unisex plaid soccer shorts. They cost a bit more than the Umbros of our youth — the original retail price is $647.

6. He has so many collabs

Speaking of Umbro, that's just one of the collabs that Virgil has up his sleeve. He's working with artists like Jenny Holzer and brands like Nike and Levi's.

7. He's reinventing Ikea's iconic blue bag

Not to be outdone by Balenciaga's $2,000 version of its big blue plastic bag, Ikea is giving Virgil license to create his own designer version. No word on when this will be available yet, InStyle reports, or how much it will cost — but Dezeen reports that Virgil will collab with Ikea on furniture too.


8. He's already getting his own museum retrospective

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago is putting together a show on Virgil’s work in 2019 that its curator says will showcase “the Möbius strip of activity that has made Virgil a kind of Renaissance man.” Not bad for a 36-year-old!

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