Virgil Abloh is having a hell of a year, in between creative directing Kanye West’s Donda imprint, DJing, and growing his own label Off-White, which recently opened its first retail store in Hong Kong. GQ caught up with him recently in Milan, where he and his staff were finishing up work on his men’s Fall/Winter 2015 line before getting started on the women’s collection. They chopped it up about a number of things including those Pyrex rugby shirts, expanding his brand, and where his inspiration for the Fall/Winter 2015 collection came from.
Of his Pyrex shirts, Virgil confirmed that the whole idea was taking pre-existing garments and adding his own spin: "People misconstrued that. For me it was obvious, but I understand that it wasn't for others. It's just reappropriation. That's what the whole thing was: Grab [Ralph Lauren] Rugby shirts, buy them all, then print on them, and then everyone tries to find the stuff. Or they see the Rugby shirts on sale, and they're like, 'Wait, that was a thirty dollar flannel, now it's $500?' And it's like, Well, you didn't think of it first. And off the back of that I got the opportunity to do full collections. Men's and women's."
He also talks about transitioning from Pyrex to his current label, which he considers more his "voice," being that it brings the raw and unexpectedness of Pyrex, with a more sophisticated polish. "I come with a full reason for everything I do. Everything has a long explanation. Some random social reference, plus some other fashion point of view, plus the youth, plus Pyrex, equals Off-White," he told the publication.
Virgil is particularly inspired by youth, it seems, given that his brand is, as he says, "based off of the kids, and the relationship to the 'street.'" He specifically calls out innovators like Ian Connor and Luka Sabbat, saying, "I trust them more than I trust the establishment. That's the whole premise of Pyrex—that the youth will always win. I like where they're taking things, and I like just being modern."
And while his aesthetic was founded in the streets, Virgil looked to the great outdoors and the notion of a climb as inspiration for his upcoming collection. "I snowboarded when I was young, and I used to go to Jackson Hole every winter, and I was remembering that mountain lifestyle...And for me, Off-White is a bunch of juxtapositions, so I wanted to juxtapose mountaineering with an urban setting, and that became Wall Street," he said. "Two different lifestyles, but this whole idea of getting to the top was the premise."
Check out the entire interview on GQ here.