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Off-White Leans Into Digital Fashion Shows With the Creation of 'Imaginary TV' for Spring 2021

"We're living in a world and at a time that is already largely digitally native," says Virgil Abloh. "I wanted to capture what it is to be human at this very moment."
A look from the Off-White Spring 2021 collection. 

A look from the Off-White Spring 2021 collection. 

Migrating to all-digital fashion shows might be throwing some designers for a loop, but not Virgil Abloh. The designer behind Off-White leaned harder than ever into the online-only format with his Spring 2021 collection, for which he created a platform called "Imaginary TV."

The platform, which launched as a microsite of the Off-White official website, premiered on Tuesday, where it played a video putting all the clothing in the collection on display, much like a standard runway show. But that wasn't the only thing viewers could see on the site. It also hosted an interface, like a digital remote control, that visitors could use to toggle between a bunch of different channels, only a couple of which would be easily identifiable as existing to promote a new fashion collection. The others featured artists, athletes and musicians doing tai chi, riding skateboards and playing music. Some of them were clearly wearing Off-White, while others' clothing was barely discernible.

"The idea of 'Imaginary TV' stems from a modern poetic vision for, and of, the ever-more virtual world," Abloh said in the show notes. "I want to connect and generate a global network, and bring together creativity while catalyzing a range of emotions."

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The collection itself marked the first time Off-White merged its menswear and womenswear studios — a move alluded to with the name of the collection, "Adam is Eve." Men styled in skirts and blazers seemed to be about as far as the collection went in terms of pushing gender fluidity, but the idea was still referenced in both the show notes and one text-laden video. 

Standout motifs from the collection included tailored blazers with strong shoulders, perfectly circular cutouts both in women's dresses and men's suiting, bright yellow breaking up a sea of neutrals and the presence of pandemic-appropriate face coverings (think kerchiefs more than masks). One of the bags depicted is already available for sale; other items from the collection will be made available in a series of three drops that will take place between February and May.

"We're living in a world and at a time that is already largely digitally native. Within the collection itself, I wanted to capture what it is to be human at this very moment," Abloh explained. "Conundrum is OK, glitches are OK, duality is OK, and a dissolution of norms is OK."

See the full Off-White Spring 2021 collection in the gallery below.

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