In an interview on the cover story of The New Yorker, Virgil Abloh addresses many different issues and topics that people often wonder about, including claims of plagiarism he deals with, his appointment with Louis Vuitton and some of his inspirations throughout his career, mainly Michael Jackson and how he deals with critics such as Diet Prada.
When asked about his most frequent critic, Abloh initially praises Diet Prada, “All props to them, that’s a great concept.” However Abloh did react to a post by Diet Prada in mid-January where the critic claimed that Off-White, the fashion label created by Abloh, references looks from indie street wear labels. In reference to this Abloh stated, “Basically the use of a yellow fabric with a pattern on it [was the entire claim],” he said. “Ring the alarm!” He sighed. “I could go on for a whole hour about the human condition and the magnet that is negativity. That’s why the world is actually like it is. That’s why good doesn’t prevail, because there’s more negative energy. You can create more connective tissue around the idea that this is plagiarized. It’s better just to sit and point your finger. That’s what social media can be. All that space to comment breeds a tendency to fester, versus actually making something.”
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Another men’s fashion week, another @off____white collection with cherry picked references from indie streetwear labels? This time, the designs in question are a yellow graffitied ensemble from Cologne-based @colrsbaby by @punkzec , who showed his AW18 collection at @arisefashionweek in Lagos in April 2018, and a graphic from Manchester label @gramm . It could be a coincidence, but Virgil has been known to swipe designs from the fans he meets, some of who happen to be young creatives themselves. Interestingly enough, @punkzec met Virgil prior to one of his presentations in Paris in 2017. Think they talked design? • #colrsbaby #punkzec #arisefashionweek #lagos #streetwear #graffiti #hypebeast #hype #virgilabloh #offwhite #streetstyle #wiwt #ootd #gramm #hoodie #sweatshirt #manchester #cologne #snobshots #dietprada
It is well known that many claims are made about Off-White imitating clothing pieces and designs, however Abloh uses Marcel Duchamp as a reference, the french-born artist, who likes to challenge the conventions of what defines art by famously placing repurposed ‘ready-mades’ in art galleries. Just like Duchamp, Abloh also likes to redefine what art means, he does this through his designs explaining that they are “like hip-hop. It’s sampling. I take James Brown, I chop it up, I make a new song. … It’s streetwear 10.0—the logic that you can reference an object or reference a brand or reference something. It’s Warhol—Marilyn Monroe or Campbell’s soup cans.” He likes to take something old or worn out and make it new again according to Hypebeast.
Something that is also talked about throughout his New Yorker interview is the man who inspires much of Abloh‘s work, Michael Jackson. At the time of this interview Abloh had not heard much about the recent Leaving Neverland documentary, however when asked about the controversy he commented that he’d rather consider “the Michael that I thought was universally accepted, the good side, his humanitarian self.” In the Fall/Winter 2019 presentation for Louis Vuitton, the gloved hands of the King of Pop were seen on garments within the collection along with some outfits styled in homage to the performer. Abloh described the Pop King to the New York Times as “the most important person in innovating men’s wear ever.” He continues,“When I have Michael Jackson singing in the background,” he said, “it’s a different type of shirt, it’s a different kind of boot, it’s a different fit of pants.”