Virgil Abloh apologises for comments about looting amid George Floyd protests

Virgil Abloh has issued a lengthy apology after facing the wrath of social media users following comments he made about looting.The head of Louis Vuitton’s menswear was forced to backtrack after initially labelling those responsible for ransacking Sean…

Virgil Abloh has issued a lengthy apology after facing the wrath of social media users following comments he made about looting.

The head of Louis Vuitton’s menswear was forced to backtrack after initially labelling those responsible for ransacking Sean Wotherspoon’s Vintage by Round Two and Round Two Los Angeles shops as “disgusting”, in the midst of the riots raging across the U.S. in response to the shocking death of African-American man George Floyd at the hands of police officers on 25 May.

Taking to his Twitter and Instagram accounts, which boast nearly six million followers between them, he began his apology note stating: “I am a black man. A dark black man. Like dark-dark. On an average trip to the grocery store in Chicago I fear I will die.”

Further down, Abloh clarified his stance on the looting: “I apologize that my comments yesterday appeared as if my main concerns are anything other than full solidarity with the movements against police violence, racism, and inequality. I want to update all systems that don’t address our current needs. It has been my personal MO (modus operandi) in every realm I touch.

“Yesterday I spoke about how my stores and stores of friends were looted. I apologize that it seemed like my concern for those stores outweighed my concern for our right to protest injustice and express our anger and rage in this moment.”

Looters and vandals have broken into stores across America, stealing and setting fire to buildings, with big cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. the hardest hit.

Black Lives Matter protestors have distanced themselves from the destruction, condemning those who’ve plunged their quest for justice for Floyd into violence.

Off-White founder Abloh also revealed he had donated “$20,500 to bail funds and other causes related to the movement”, after many assumed he had only given $50 from his original post.

“I also joined a social media chain of friends who were matching $50 donations. I apologize that appeared to some as if that was my only donation to these important causes,” he stated.

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Virgil Abloh questions whether fashion is still ‘relevant’

Virgil Abloh has questioned if fashion is “still relevant” in a new video released on social media.The creative director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear line and founder of streetwear label Off-White uploaded a four-minute clip to Instagram on Monday in wh…

Virgil Abloh has questioned if fashion is “still relevant” in a new video released on social media.

The creative director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear line and founder of streetwear label Off-White uploaded a four-minute clip to Instagram on Monday in which he discussed the future of the industry after stores and factories have been forced to close down temporarily amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Abloh, who also narrates the video with a series of musings about his latest Louis Vuitton collection and the future of fashion, simply captioned the clip: “I think in run-on sentences.”

The video includes behind-the-scenes footage of his previous ranges, and he touched upon his design process, which he said was fuelled by an investigation into “the root of clothing and a human desire”.

“It’s sort of this matrix of using the DNA of a vocabulary I started in, but sending it into the time of the season,” the 39-year-old explained, noting how he’s inspired by the thought process behind creations rather than the relationship to the work.

Abloh then stated that the purpose of sharing his video was to showcase his musings on the “sort of chip on (his) shoulder” of analysing if “fashion with a capital ‘F’ is still relevant”.

He also listed some of his muses, claiming he appreciates Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay for his “strong fashion sensibility”, and the attire often worn by the late Kurt Cobain.

Abloh insisted the Nirvana rocker’s infamous flannel shirts in the ’90s were a big inspiration and revealed that he used to go to his local mall “and buy that and I would make it my own”.

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Off-White face mask tops list of most-searched fashion items

An Off-White face mask has topped the rankings of most-searched fashion items.On Wednesday, analysts at fashion platform Lyst unveiled their findings for the first quarter of 2020 and reported that a face mask featuring an arrow motif from Virgil Abloh…

An Off-White face mask has topped the rankings of most-searched fashion items.

On Wednesday, analysts at fashion platform Lyst unveiled their findings for the first quarter of 2020 and reported that a face mask featuring an arrow motif from Virgil Abloh’s streetwear brand was the hottest product in the men’s category.

The mask, priced at $95 (£76), is now sold out, but is currently listed for up to three times its original price on resale platforms. Streetwear-inspired masks have been trending for some time, with Billie Eilish wearing a custom Gucci version to the Grammy Awards in January and the likes of Travis Scott, Future, and Young Thug sporting the items to events for several years.

However, the team at Lyst believe the coronavirus crisis, in which people in affected nations are encouraged to wear face masks to help curb the spread of Covid-19, has accelerated interest even further.

“The coronavirus pandemic has seen more labels enter the mask market, and a 496 per cent surge in searches for fashion face masks over the quarter,” a spokesperson commented. “Millions of shoppers worldwide are searching for masks by Off-White, as well as by Fendi, Bape and Marcelo Burlon.”

Other sought-after products for men included Prada’s bolo tie, Loewe’s half-zip fleece from the Eye/LOEWE/Nature outdoors collection, and Stone Island’s cargo trousers.

As for the women’s category, the Bottega Veneta padded Cassette bag was the most popular item, with Off-White’s soft lace bodysuit, Gucci’s pattern tights, and an Anine Bing tiger sweatshirt also in the mix. Yet, the most surprising addition was an increase in interest for pre-owned Chanel handbags.

“Chanel’s classic double flap bag saw a 75 per cent increase in searches over the quarter,” they added. “Perhaps driven by the fact that Chanel does not sell bags through its own website, and with bricks-and-mortar luxury stores shuttered in many markets due to the coronavirus outbreak, demand for these classics has increased on second-hand marketplaces.”

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Off-White continues reign as world’s hottest brand

Off-White has once again been crowned the most sought-after brand in the world.The label, founded by designer Virgil Abloh in 2012, is known for its stylised streetwear-inspired items which feature the use of quotation marks, zip ties, and industrial b…

Off-White has once again been crowned the most sought-after brand in the world.

The label, founded by designer Virgil Abloh in 2012, is known for its stylised streetwear-inspired items which feature the use of quotation marks, zip ties, and industrial buckles, with celebrity fans including Gigi and Bella Hadid, JAY-Z, and Nicki Minaj.

Now, analysts have compiled data from the fashion platform Lyst for the first quarter of 2020 and reported that Off-White has come out on top in relation to global Lyst and Google search data, conversion rates and sales, as well as social media mentions and engagement statistics worldwide. The brand also topped The Lyst Index for the previous two quarters.

Balenciaga, helmed by creative director Demna Gvasalia, was the runner-up, while sportswear giant Nike landed in third place.

Other luxury brands in the top 10 included Prada, Moncler, Fendi, Valentino, Versace, Saint Laurent, Burberry, and Jacquemus.

“Jacquemus enters The Lyst Index of hottest brands ranking for the first time, with the label’s accessories having previously made the hottest products section,” a Lyst spokesperson commented. “The French brand climbs seven places to reach 15th position, after its supermodel-heavy fall/winter 2020 show boosted social media mentions by over 1,100 per cent. The other new entrants this quarter are Thom Browne and Rick Owens, both eponymous labels of U.S. designers, each with a distinctive and consistent aesthetic.”

Meanwhile, face masks have seen a huge spike in interest, having been worn by the likes of Billie Eilish and rappers Travis Scott and Future on the red carpet at recent events, as well as in light of the global coronavirus crisis.

“The coronavirus pandemic has seen more labels enter the mask market, and a 496 per cent surge in searches for fashion face masks over the quarter. Millions of shoppers worldwide are searching for masks by Off-White, as well as by Fendi, Bape and Marcelo Burlon,” they continued.

Other popular accessories include Loewe’s Eln fleece zip sweater, a Gucci x Disney hooded sweatshirt, and Bottega Veneta’s padded Cassette bag.

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Virgil Abloh: ‘Fashion today feels useless’

Virgil Abloh is feeling disillusioned about the fashion industry during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.The creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear and Off-White founder is in lockdown at his home in Chicago, Illinois, after leaders in the U.S. an…

Virgil Abloh is feeling disillusioned about the fashion industry during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear and Off-White founder is in lockdown at his home in Chicago, Illinois, after leaders in the U.S. and other countries around the world imposed restrictions on people’s movements in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus.

In an interview for Vogue’s Postcards from Home series, Abloh shared that he has turned his focus to art at the moment as he’s struggling to see sense in fashion.

“I’m inspired by the fact that fashion can mean something different out of the end of this. It doesn’t feel like it did a year ago. Today it seems useless, in a way: a new handbag, a pair of shoes,” the 39-year-old explained. “Getting groceries seems more important than buying a new garment that I already have 30 of in a closet. I don’t think of that as a bad thing.”

The designer is creating a new work and art space, as well as a recording studio, called Under Construction, at the present.

And in his downtime, he is also contemplating how to find a sense of calm amid the crisis.

“I’m also trying to find some solitude. You hear about these things: wellness, wellbeing. Meditating – that’s something I need to learn. I’m relishing the idea of not having to do something all the time, but that’s a trait I have to learn. I’m not wired that way,” Abloh added.

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Yolanda Hadid makes runway return during Off-White fall 20 show

Yolanda Hadid made her runway return during the Off-White presentation on Thursday night.The Netherlands-born reality TV star worked as a model for 15 years before moving to Los Angeles in the mid-1990s and starting a family with her then-husband Moham…

Yolanda Hadid made her runway return during the Off-White presentation on Thursday night.

The Netherlands-born reality TV star worked as a model for 15 years before moving to Los Angeles in the mid-1990s and starting a family with her then-husband Mohamed Hadid.

While Yolanda is now often spotted in attendance at the fashion shows her daughters Gigi and Bella Hadid appear in, she couldn’t refuse an invitation from Off-White creative director Virgil Abloh to take to the catwalk alongside her oldest children as part of his fall/winter 2020 show in Paris.

Abloh told Vogue reporters backstage that he was excited by the idea of having a family involved in the spectacle, which was titled Slightly Off.

“I think, ‘What better sort of muse than not just one woman, but a family unit, the three of them, a family of models?’ I wanted to have that be the anchor of the show,” he said.

Bella opened the show wearing a deconstructed black jacket, long pleated skirt, and chain link necklace, while Gigi closed the spectacle in an avant-garde number comprised of a blue raincoat merged with an enormous white dress.

Yolanda, 56, took to the catwalk right in the middle, wearing a pair of black pencil trousers, a white blazer with black graffiti print, and black sunglasses.

And Bella was thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside her mother.

“It was amazing to walk the runway with her. I think that the outfit he put her in was perfect. It was the most amazing feeling because she’s always been the one that kind of gave us tips, and I think today I was more nervous than her,” she added.

Elsewhere in the presentation, Abloh offered up slinky dresses with round cutouts, cow print fabric, utilitarian jumpsuits, and metallic gowns with off-the-shoulder necklines.

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Off-White continues reign as world’s hottest brand

Off-White has once again been crowned the most sought-after brand in the world.The label, founded by designer Virgil Abloh in 2012, is known for its stylised streetwear-inspired items which feature the use of quotation marks, zip ties, and industrial b…

Off-White has once again been crowned the most sought-after brand in the world.

The label, founded by designer Virgil Abloh in 2012, is known for its stylised streetwear-inspired items which feature the use of quotation marks, zip ties, and industrial buckles, with celebrity fans including Bella Hadid, JAY-Z, and Nicki Minaj.

Now, analysts have compiled data from the fashion platform Lyst for the fourth quarter of 2019 and reported that Off-White has come out on top in relation to global Lyst and Google search data, conversion rates and sales, as well as social media mentions and engagement statistics worldwide. The company also topped The Lyst Index for the previous quarter.

Gucci, helmed by creative director Alessandro Michele, was the runner-up, while Balenciaga landed in third place.

Other luxury brands in the top 10 included Versace, Fendi, Prada, Valentino, and Burberry, though the most surprising leap in rankings came from Moncler.

Nabbing the fourth spot, executives at the lifestyle label have found success over the past three years by harnessing a guest designer roster, which has included capsule collections from the likes of Simone Rocha, Craig Green, and Richard Quinn.

Meanwhile, Gucci’s logo belt was once again the hottest in the list of women’s products, with Amina Muaddi’s Gilda heels taking second place.

“As seen on Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber, Muaddi’s Gilda heels sparked an average of 60,500 monthly searches between October and December, while the brand saw a 73 per cent rise in views,” a Lyst spokesperson commented.

Other popular accessories include Prada’s Monolith boots, a scarf from Acne Studios, Spanx’s faux leather leggings, Balenciaga’s Hourglass top handle bag, and the UGG Scuffette II slippers.

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Opening Ceremony stores to close

Opening Ceremony is to shutter its four boutiques this year.On Tuesday, co-founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon announced that the brand had been acquired by executives at Milan-based company New Guards Group, which also oversees labels including Virgi…

Opening Ceremony is to shutter its four boutiques this year.

On Tuesday, co-founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon announced that the brand had been acquired by executives at Milan-based company New Guards Group, which also oversees labels including Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, Palm Angels, Heron Preston, and Kirin by Peggy Gou.

Lim and Leon are remaining with the brand as creative directors, but in a lengthy statement posted on the Opening Ceremony Instagram page, they confirmed that the firm’s two stores in New York and boutiques in Tokyo and Los Angeles will shutter.

“We’ve made a decision to focus on growing Opening Ceremony collection and brand with our new partners, New Guards Group, and expand the designs of Opening Ceremony. Our brand takes the beautiful spirit of experimentation, fun, and collaboration embodied in our stores and imbues this energy into the clothing we make,” they wrote. “We know our decision may surprise you and it may be interpreted in many different ways. Ultimately, in this time of immense change in the way that people shop, we still believe in the power of passionate and unique retail. But we also believe in the necessity for change, reflection and an opportunity to refresh. This is a moment of transition for Opening Ceremony and, together with our new partners, we are taking the chance to step back and evaluate the future of our Opening Ceremony retail experience.”

Since launching in 2002, Opening Ceremony has become known for offering an eclectic mix of clothing and accessories, as well as for its collaborations with brands such as Rodarte, Disney, Adidas Originals, and Reebok.

And to conclude their statement, Lim and Leon explained that they are “immensely proud” of what they were able to achieve over the years.

“With our constant desire to reinvent, we will return to creating stores, but with a different mindset and perspective in order to wow people who are self-proclaimed shop-til-we-drops like us,” the pair added. “Our deepest thanks goes to our dedicated employees, without whom Opening Ceremony would not have the humanity, kindness, and spirit of friendship that it is known for.”

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Off-White backer acquires Opening Ceremony

Executives at Off-White backer New Guards Group have acquired Opening Ceremony.Based in Milan, the contemporary luxury fashion production and distribution holding company currently oversees labels including Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, Palm Angels, Heron …

Executives at Off-White backer New Guards Group have acquired Opening Ceremony.

Based in Milan, the contemporary luxury fashion production and distribution holding company currently oversees labels including Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, Palm Angels, Heron Preston, and Kirin by Peggy Gou.

Now, American clothing brand and retailer Opening Ceremony is also set to fall under the umbrella of New Guards Group, with co-founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon to remain as creative directors.

“Our curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit have been at the centre of Opening Ceremony since we founded the company and our continued search for innovation led us to this partnership with Davide de Giglio and Andrea Grilli, who have created one of the best global brand platforms in existence today,” Leon and Lim said in a statement obtained by The Business of Fashion. “This next step for Opening Ceremony means we get to connect our desire to invent the future and design for our community to a dynamic infrastructure.”

As part of the deal, New Guards Group will own the Opening Ceremony trademark. It remains unclear if its two stores in New York and boutiques in Tokyo and Los Angeles will be affected.

Since launching in 2002, Opening Ceremony has become known for offering an eclectic mix of clothing and accessories, as well as for its collaborations with brands such as Rodarte, Disney, Adidas Originals, and Reebok.

In addition, Leon and Lim served as creative directors of Kenzo from 2011 until their departure in July 2019. Felipe Oliveira Baptista has succeeded the duo at the French label.

Meanwhile, New Guards Group has undergone some changes in recent months too, with the group purchased by bosses at Farfetch for $675 million (£520 million) in August.

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Virgil Abloh wants to represent a generation

Virgil Abloh aspires to represent a generation with his fashion designs.The founder of Off-White and artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear department was first inspired to make clothing more representative after being refused entry to several s…

Virgil Abloh aspires to represent a generation with his fashion designs.

The founder of Off-White and artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear department was first inspired to make clothing more representative after being refused entry to several shows back in 2009 during a visit to Paris Fashion Week with Kanye West.

Back then, Abloh discovered that the industry “wasn’t particularly welcoming”, but he has been driven ever since to make sure young designers and fashion fans aren’t excluded.

“I don’t know how many shows I’ve done since 2016 but it’s been enjoyable to define the space that I would perceivably be put in,” he told Dazed magazine. “My motivation this whole time has been to represent for a generation – I’m still thinking about the kid that couldn’t get into fashion shows.”

Abloh believes streetwear has helped to promote diversity and inclusivity in the business, and has worked together with the likes of Shayne Oliver from Hood by Air to create a “new atmosphere”.

“I’ve never been one that felt like the doors were closing – I’m an optimist so I don’t even recognise that, that’s how I got to where I’m at. I think that what helped it along was streetwear was also a global concept,” the 39-year-old stated.

Despite acknowledging the success of his streetwear, Abloh confessed he was initially disappointed that his clothing was described as that by the press.

“From that frustration, I decided if ‘streetwear’ was gonna be the sign of the times I was gonna define it rather than be defined by it. I needed to do a show to define what ‘streetwear’ could be, and do it with urgency, you know,” he added.

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