What influenced Virgil Abloh to refashion air quotes and zip-ties into visual shorthand for today’s hype? Psychologically, the answer is probably rooted in his fascinations, social circles, and desktops obscured by legions of JPEGs. You can watch any of Abloh’s keynotes or university lectures to hear more on that. Stylistically, the answer more likely comes from trial and error.
To quote style writer Jian DeLeon — whose copy was appropriated by Abloh himself for his Off-White rugs — one’s style is often ‘built on a foundation of expensive mistakes.’ Or, you could say that Virgil’s Air Yeezys walked so his Zoom Flys could run.
Virgil Abloh turns 37 today, so to celebrate his special day, we’re looking at what he was laced in before Off-White, highlighting the footwear that carried him down the path to hype-culture saturation.