It sounds like Kanye West's creative director is having more success in the fashion industry than West, himself. Granted, Virgil Abloh, who works on West's merchandise and stage shows, didn't really give critics the opportunity to diss his new line, which is called Off-White and has already gotten orders from Colette in Paris and The Webster in Miami -- sight unseen.
This isn't the first time Abloh has dipped his toes into fashion -- he's collaborated with Hood by Air, a cult streetwear brand that has successfully crossed over into the fashion world. He also launched his own line, Pyrex Vision, which is sold in stores like VFiles and has been sported by both West and Kim Kardashian. Chances are Abloh has worked with West on his own fashion ventures as well. He also counts Riccardo Tisci as a mentor, obviously.
Abloh's new line, which launches for spring 2014, has a more WASPy inspiration point than his past work: “I have this deep infatuation with Montauk and Martha Stewart and Nantucket,” he told Style.com. Thus, the line includes a sporty take on espadrilles. “No one in the hood is wearing espadrilles.”
And they probably still won't: For one, the entire line is made in Italy -- and if it's being sold in stores like Colette and The Webster, Off-White is most likely not in the price range of the hood's typical inhabitants. But cool rich people will probably be all over them.
Abloh also says he wants to "give [his] point of view and merge street sensibilities in a proper fashion context," which is interesting. Streetwear and fashion have long operated as two separate worlds that do occasionally overlap and that, I think, have been overlapping more than ever recently. And that overlap has been embraced by a growing customer base of cool, and savvy people, or "the post-Tumblr guy and girl," as Abloh refers to them.
Which either means the line is unisex or he plans to launch women's. Not sure if I'm post-Tumblr enough to get it. Check out the full spring 2014 collection below.