Virgil Abloh Speaks on Working With Kanye, Buying the Rugby Ralph Lauren Flannels for Pyrex, and More

Virgil Abloh explains why he bought all the Rugby Ralph Lauren flannels, what's next for Off-White, and what's it like working with Kanye West.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Virgil Abloh hardly needs an introduction anymore, especially with the launch of his new line, Off-WhiteFader recently sat down with the designer, and Kanye West's right-hand man, to talk about why he bought all those Rugby Ralph Lauren flannels, what's it been like to work with Ye, the relationship between hip-hop and fashion, and what's next for Off-White. He even touches on the infamous Paris Fashion Week photo in which he appeared alongside Kanye, Don C, Taz Arnold, Chris Julian, and Fonzworth Bentley. Yes, the same one that was parodied by "South Park" in 2009. Read a few excerpts below. 

On buying all the Rugby Ralph Lauren flannels for Pyrex

"Yeah, exactly. I saw the Rugby store was going to close, and singlehandedly bought all the flannels from across the country. I made those flannels deadstock. And I just loved the reaction. People were wowed. People were like, “How are gonna charge $500 for a rugby marked up from $40?” and I'm like “You can't get that rugby anymore. The one that’s $40 in the store, I bought it, now you can't get it!” That’s intellectual to me. That’s an art project. People were like “How are you gonna use Champion hoodies?” When you’re hooping in gym class in the newest Jordans, you have to wear your gym uniform, which always had that Champion logo on the shorts and the shirt. It’s just a nod to that."

On the famous Paris Fashion Week photo with Kanye West:

"The one thing to note is that I’m a student of Kanye West. We’re just kids from Chicago that have an opinion. We want to be in a place to help bring what we grew up with to the forefront. This is the golden era for hip-hop to transform and lead into other realms. He said it best, I can’t even add onto it."

On hip-hop and fashion's relationship, and how one affects the other:

"We just went to Cannes and did this panel with Steve Stoute and Ben Horowitz, who is like the godfather of the internet. They asked, “Why wasn’t Mick Jagger selling leather pants?” Hip-hop was the first form of music that glorified how much shit cost and what name brand it was; it’s the greatest vehicle to move products. Of course Beats being bought by Apple was going to happen in 2014. Dr. Dre made something that is bigger than the corporate world. We’re from hip-hop, which is a subculture that has now transitioned into its adult phase. It’s about knowing how to transition into other spheres— a different taste level— but still keep it real, so to speak. ​"

On what's next for Off-White:

"Right now, I’m designing my first flagship retail store in Hong Kong, which will open in the fall. I can use my architecture dreams to build out the space how I see it. I’m also working on furniture. Id do anything at the right time and I would also do things at the wrong time, if they felt right. I just don’t want people to get it twisted about what really goes on in my head. You can look at it like, “Oh, he’s this black hip-hop kid that looks like he should be playing basketball.” I just love breaking down barriers and hitting people with the alley-oop when they think we're a stereotype."

Read the entire interview here.  

[via Fader]

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