“Industry Icon” Honouring Virgil Abloh

by Matthew Thomas

The news of Virgil Abloh’s passing last week was on everyone’s minds. Especially on our team’s mind in the office. So here at scotts, we wanted to honour Virgil in the best way possible, by taking a trip down memory lane and looking back at some of the most iconic moments in his career.

Where shall we start…

2009


It was 12 years ago, in 2009, that Virgil Abloh and Kanye West became interns at fashion powerhouse Fendi in Rome, Italy. They quickly found their feet and turned the studio on its head, bringing a fresh new outlook on the brand.

2010 – 2011


Then just one year on from this, Virgil became the creative director at Donda, Kanye’s creative agency. It was in his role as Creative Director that Virgil worked on iconic albums such as Kanye’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’, ‘Watch the Throne’ and ‘Yeezus’.

2012


In 2012, Virgil teamed up with Matthew M. Williams, Heron Preston and Justin Saunders on the brand ‘Been Trill’. It was originally intended as a DJ Collective to host parties but quickly turned into a brand with a huge cult following.

The designers who worked on ‘Been Trill’ with Virgil have all since gone on to become household names in the creative industry. Matthew M. Williams is most recently known for his collaborations with Nike, Heron Preston known for his brand ‘Heron Preston’ and Justin Saunders also known as ‘JJJJound’ who recently collaborated with New Balance.

2012 didn’t stop there though, Virgil created his very own brand Pyrex Vision, where he took deadstock £30 Ralph Lauren flannel shirts and printed ‘Pyrex 23’ on the back, one of the most recognisable pieces from Pyrex Vision. These flannel shirts from Pyrex Vision then went on to sell for more than £400.

2013


In 2013, with some financial backing from Italy’s New Guards Group, Virgil Abloh created the brand Off-White. This is the brand that most of the world knows him best for.

Off-White was defined as being the grey area between black and white, the colour Off-White. It pushed the boundaries of the industry, blurring the lines between streetwear and luxury, later winning the Urban Luxe Award in 2017. The brand quickly became associated with its iconic use of quotation marks… “Industry Icon”.

2017


Now 2017 is probably the year that a lot of people began to recognise the name, Virgil Abloh.

The pinnacle of 2017 was The Ten collection. This was Virgil’s groundbreaking collaboration with Nike that shook the sneaker industry to its core. The Ten was a collection of Nike’s most iconic silhouettes which included the likes of the Air Force 1, Air Max 90 and Air Max 97 that were deconstructed by Virgil and presented in a ‘work in progress’ style fashion.

2018


Straight off the back of his success with Nike, in 2018, Virgil was named the Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton Menswear. This was truly the cherry on top of the cake for what had been his mission to blend the worlds of streetwear and luxury together.

2019


With groundbreaking achievements in multiple areas of the industry, from sneakers to luxury fashion, his collaboration with Ikea was released. Yes, Ikea, the Swedish ready-to-assemble furniture company.

His Ikea collaboration brought an artistic quality to the simplest of objects with items such as a giant Ikea receipt repurposed as a rug and another rug with the phrase “KEEP OFF”.

2020


Virgil continued to make strides in 2020, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement by raising funds and support for black-owned businesses as well as launching his Post-Modern Scholarship Fund where he intended to supply the right tools and mentoring to the new era of budding creative designers.

2021


Sadly, that brings us to 28th November 2021, where the world heard of the passing of Virgil Abloh.

What Virgil has taught us is that no matter what profession you’re in, whether you’re a bricklayer or an office worker, a fireman or a developer, don’t be afraid to challenge the norm, instigate change and create your own future. He was an inspiration to everyone and if you take anything from his tragic passing, it is that you never truly know what someone is going through behind closed doors.

As lads we are encouraged to talk more and open up about our issues. In private, Virgil was battling a rare form of heart cancer from 2019 until 2021 whilst none of us knew otherwise. So be nice to everyone you meet and support your mates through life as you never know what somebody else is going through.

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