Si hay un personaje que está contribuyendo de forma notable a que el streetwear ocupe las pasarelas más importantes del mundo es: Virgil Abloh de Off White. SlamJam acaba de publicar un magnífica entrevista acerca del projecto de Virgil donde profundizan en los viajes, las colaboraciones y el acercamiento a la moda del diseñador.

Virgil Abloh

Después del revuelo que se ha montado tras las declaraciones de Raf Simons a GQ sobre la nueva ola de diseñadores, dónde venía a decir que el grupo de Demna, Virgil, etc. no eran santo de su devoción, le llega el turno al diseñador con base en Milán y originario de Chicago, Virgil Abloh, que a través de SlamJam nos cuenta sus influencias y como sus proyectos han ido evolucionando.

A diferencia del Belga, Virgil ha sabido reconocer en esta entrevista el trabajo de Raf Simons de manera contundente: “Creo que Raf es el Dios del diseño, y todos los que venimos detrás somos el efecto de su terremoto“. Anteriormente ya había comentado que coleccionaba prendas de Raf.

La comparto con vosotros ya que creo que es una de las mejores entrevistas que Abloh ha dado hasta la fecha, y nos enseña mucho de su evolución.  A continuación podéis leerla íntegramente.


SlamJam – We know travel is an important part of your day-to-day life. Before Milan, where were you?

Virgil – A lot of places. I started traveling to Montreal, Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, then to New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Miami, London. I’ve been to all these places in like three weeks. It’s a mix of DJing and business travel. I mix the two all day, everyday.

SlamJam – Do travel and physical experiences have an important role in your creative process?

Virgil – Yes, it’s essential to being in touch with what’s happening. There’re a few styles of design in any culture, like this style of fashion design is a subculture [holding a sneaker in his hands]. It’s important to be a part of the culture. It’s the events like book signings, art shows, and the design of it. It’s the things that you see right in front of it rather than looking at it through the computer. Like those kids in Milan wearing the keychain with the keys on that. For me, if I did that in the collection, it’s because I’m here, not because I saw a trend. I come from ’90s skate culture; you have to be a part of the culture that you’re representing. I think it’s the culture that I enjoy and I also participate in it.

SlamJam – Sounds quite different from the absence equals presence approach we’ve seen – in some cases – across the past decades (eg. Martin Margiela). How do you feel about that?

Virgil – He’s like a God; he can do whatever he wants. He tells us what to do and leads us with his legacy. The kid thing that I’ve mentioned, and our approach, this is a new genre of design. It’s not to be confused with high fashion. It’s a new hybrid. The style of fashion that I do and that the style of fashion of this new generation is a new version of fashion design. It’s like couture has got the rhythm of a different era, while the rhythm of this era is like everyone’s wearing Levi’s, printed t-shirts. That’s fashion now, but it wasn’t fashion before. The designers from the era before like Margiela, Alaïa, McQueen, that’s a different era, and I think my goal is to embrace the culture of now but also infuse the designers’ nature of the past. It’s culture, but a cultural mix. I think the god of design is Raf Simons, and we’re all the after-effects of his earthquake.

SlamJam – Why did you choose Milan as the base for your design studio and center of operations?

Virgil – Italy, in general, has a history of making clothing. One thing you realize when you travel around the world is you don’t see the divisions in the world; you just see what people are great at. We all live on this planet; it’s more like a global view rather than a nationalist view. It’s like you buy groceries from a certain grocery store, you go on vacation in certain places in the world because it’s better than going on vacation in shitty places in the world. That line of thinking is how I arrived at the opportunity, but it’s not like I chose Italy, it was because of the existing team. I came here because I liked what they had to offer.

Virgil Abloh by Self Service Magazine

SlamJam – Do you think Milan has something, in particular, to offer in regards to your own personal discovery and that of Off-White?

Virgil – Yes, to me it’s the local culture, I have a lot of friends here, it’s very conducive to hire a particular style of art direction and design. It’s great. I feel there’s like a specific Milan-based art direction style which is totally different from Berlin’s one, New York, or LA. This is very distinct.

SlamJam – What about your background? Does it have something to do with your decision of choosing Italy?

Virgil – Not in a direct way, my background is architecture, also engineering, but more like the art history of modernism. I found there’s a correlation to that here. A lot of my friends are super knowledgable about design. It’s a global view of modernism. I travel a lot because I can see, I can weave together what’s contemporary about kids here and what’s contemporary about kids in Berlin, in London. It’s more of a globalist view rather than any sort of nationalist. Taz Arnold once told me that he wanted to be a citizen of the globe, more than be from a particular place.

SlamJam – Were there ever moments where you felt it was difficult to create your own identity because of certain celebrity associations?

Virgil – Yes, but it’s in a way that it’s not even a problem. It’s just the nature of doing creative work. For me Off-White is a project for myself. It’s very much like a very personal art project; it’s not even a clothing brand so much. It’s a container where I can put in all my ideas; they span from fashion to marketing to naming, branding, aesthetic and music. That’s what it is for me; it’s an outlet. By definition, I made it so I can be the decision maker, but I love working collaboratively with everyone. I made a career, up to this point, by working collaboratively with everyone from my brand to a person.

Pyrex - Virgil Abloh

SlamJam – What are some of the most and less satisfactory moments of your career?

Virgil – There are no bad ones. Satisfactory ones are achieving goals that I don’t necessarily know I would achieve.  It’s a great moment along the road and just validation of a concept. I believed in streetwear and printed t-shirts, I didn’t think that I would be associated with designers. This gave me focus; it just let me know what direction to go. To me that started with Pyrex Vision, the project that launched Off-White. It was the moment that, the scene of us kids in New York: the A$AP kids from Harlem, my friends and I working in the fashion industry, Kanye West, we changed the flow of fashion. It used to be top-down, it was high fashion that made the trends and the products, and this is how you wear it. Then we took those trends and garments and started wearing them in a different way. Rocky and Bari wearing Rick Owens with Palace, or me and Matthew Williams going to London and buying every Palace shirt and then bringing them back. It was like we were wearing Hermès, Palace and you’re wearing Supreme with Givenchy leather shorts.

That took the designer world and made their own, then right off the coast, I made Pyrex, which is something that we made and could push it into a high fashion context. That’s to me the important thing, where we are up today. From that screen-printed T-shirt to doing Paris shows – I only show in Paris, I don’t show in New York. It’s all off of this generation… that shirt you’re wearing, that’s part of the movement. All of us, are a generation of artists that are on a platform because of our will, not necessarily waiting for acceptance. Not wanting to be accepted by fashion, it’s just our style.


Recurso Original | Fuente: SlamJam