In this Virgil Abloh interview, the Off-White designer talks to us about innovation, inspiration, and travel.
Additional research by Tira Lee
Off-White finally opened shop in Singapore on September 14. Following the opening, we did an email interview with Virgil Abloh. Here are the questions and the designer’s answers.
Congrats on the launch of Off-White in Singapore. How did the decision to set up shop in Singapore come about?
The local market and the great retail partner, Surrender Group, in Singapore helped encourage the plan to open up a store there.
It’s noteworthy that in the Asian continent alone, there are six Off-White stores (including Singapore). Why the focus on Asia?
The brand has a resonance in Asia as well as Europe and the US. In the coming years we will increase the retail presence in all.
Going back a little further on the timeline: What were the reasons you chose to launch Off-White in Milan first?
Italy is home to some of the world’s best factories for making clothing. For the concept of a relaxed luxury line of clothing I chose Milan as the headquarters.
You studied engineering and architecture and also deejay. How have your experiences in these various fields informed your creative process?
Each of my passions give me varied perspectives. It’s that wide view that I draw my inspiration from.
You once said in an interview, “Streetwear lived and it died”. In your opinion, what stage of streetwear’s life cycle are we at right now – the flare or the fall? What comes next?
We have sort of burst into a commercial viability that didn’t exist before. It’s no longer niche and a mass trend. Now is a moment to make its impact last forever in the timeline of high fashion.
Your endeavors have put you on the forefront of the march to the point where streetwear intersects with high fashion. How do you feel about having played such a pivotal role in streetwear, fashion and really, the future?
I’m honored to have such a distinction. For me the gratification comes from doing more innovative projects rather than reflecting on the past.
Amid your busy schedule, how do you center yourself? Or do you find your best ideas come to you in moments of flux and flurry?
The flurry is where the ideas come from.
You said in an interview you might feel the need to prove yourself more as someone who didn’t come from fashion school. Do you think in some ways the Internet made fashion more egalitarian; that some of the barriers to entry were lowered as a result?
It’s a new world. The practice changes with time. In this new era where traditional schooling has a different role it’s still important to know what you don’t know. I had a great mentor in Louise Wilson from Central Saint Martins who gave perspective on my projects, which I cherish.
In yet another interview it was said you give your mobile number/email address out readily, you work from your iPhone a lot through WhatsApp, and don’t have an assistant. Do you see yourself changing your modern approach to working and networking?
I’m sure my style of work will change but it will always be as ad hoc as it’s ever been.
You’ve seen many things, been many places – which is your favorite city in the world, and why?
I love traveling. That’s the problem in picking one city.
Off-White Singapore is located at 268 Orchard Road, #01-01, 238856.
This interview with Virgil Abloh has been edited and condensed.
Read More: Off-White Singapore Store Opening