Words by April Hollamby
Quotation marks, arrow logos, zip ties, Renaissance prints... Once unconnected themes are now intrinsically linked by one brand: Off-White. Its founder, the late, great Virgil Abloh — also known for being Louis Vuitton Men’s artistic director — is famed for being a visionary in the fashion industry, a polymath and a multidisciplinary artist who also produced music and was a qualified architect. Off-White has played a pivotal role in blurring the lines between athleisure and luxury, making streetwear high-fashion and changing the sartorial landscape forever. The label lives on after his death in 2021 and continues to produce era-defining pieces, from new iterations of iconic industrial belts, cult sneakers and refreshed arrow motifs, to the more recent graffiti prints and deconstructed tailoring.
To celebrate the enduring legacy of Virgil Abloh, we look back at the designer's journey into fashion, highlight his founding brand's latest collection (which remains rooted in Abloh’s distinct vision) and spotlight the label’s latest coveted collaborations — starring our exclusive FARFETCH BEAT 008: Off-White x Chicago Bulls collection. Plus, discover all your need-to-know sizing advice for the most-wanted jackets, sneakers and more.
Off-White history: Virgil Abloh’s journey to success
Born in 1980, in Rockford, Illinois and raised by his Ghanaian parents, Abloh learnt the craft of sewing from a young age from his seamstress mother. His passion for design carried through into his education where he earned a degree in civil engineering and a master's degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Abloh went on to secure a job at Chicago screen-printing store Custom Kings, where designer Don C would occasionally visit. After meeting Abloh for the first time, Don commissioned him to create some work for his clients, which led to an internship at Fendi’s Rome-based headquarters — and from there, a creative director role for content agency Donda in 2010.
Two years later, he launched his first label and boutique, Pyrex Vision. The brand was centered on the idea of taking the ordinary and turning it into luxury streetwear; the designer purchased deadstock garments from the likes of Ralph Lauren and Champion, printed his youth-inspired branding on them — along with the number 23, inspired by his hero Michael Jordan — and re-sold them with a fresh new design. Celebrity tastemakers including Rihanna and A$AP Rocky praised Abloh’s disruptive ideas.
After a year of success, Abloh closed his conceptual venture down and focused on the launch of his new Milan-based label in 2013, Off-White. Its aim? To define the gray area between black and white. A decade on, the label continues to challenge ideas of irony and paradox in its latest collections.
FARFETCH BEAT 008: Off-White x Chicago Bulls
One of the brand’s most recent collaborations, Off-White x Chicago Bulls honors two of Abloh's greatest passions: basketball and his hometown. The collection was released exclusively on FARFETCH via our BEAT retail program, and comprises iconic varsity jackets, logocentric leisurewear and more. Basketball and its culture has been a reference point in many of Off-White’s collections throughout clothing and footwear, and this capsule pays homage to the NBA franchise with a remixed logo — a bull palming a basketball in midair with a remixed uniform that’s surrounded by the words ‘Off-White Bulls’. Other standout pieces include arrow-embroidered T-shirts and hoodies, all available to shop exclusively on FARFETCH and Off-White.
Spring/summer 2023: Exactly The Opposite collection
Off-White explores the power of paradox in its spring/summer 2023 collection, Exactly The Opposite. An ode to Off-White's spirit and ethos, the menswear edit stars reversed monikers, logo-printed leisurewear, soft pastel knits with statement pockets, progressive double denim, and fresh colorways of the most-wanted Out of Office and Odsy-1000 sneakers. Tailoring is adorned with some of the brand's most-loved symbols and motifs, including a small description of its conceptual roots and personal signatures from Abloh.
STYLING: pair tailored shirts with baggy jeans and a varsity jacket. For a more elevated look, consider tailored trousers and box-fresh sneakers. Add finishing touches to complete a full Off-White look — consider logo-detailed belts, statement cross-body bags and directional sunglasses your go-tos.
SIZING: we’d recommend opting for your regular size when purchasing an Off-White T-shirt and tailoring. If you prefer a roomier fit, consider sizing up.
A design that Abloh made his signature, the varsity jacket stars as a hero piece in many Off-White collections. Also known as the letterman jacket, the style was also popularized by many other high-fashion brands including Givenchy, Supreme and more. Off-White’s key styles feature unmistakable ‘O’ and ‘W’ patches, plus signature arrows, autographs, cartoon graphics and instantly recognizable diagonally striped sleeves. Other most-loved jackets from the label include ubiquitous denim offerings with subtle embroidery and patchwork detail, as well as single arrow-print track jackets, finished with the original arrow logo at the chest and back.
STYLING: pair Off-White jackets with oversized jeans, T-shirts and hoodies. Statement jackets lend themselves to both casual and formal events when worn over tailoring.
SIZING: if you’re looking for a classic fit, we’d recommend opting for your regular size when choosing an Off-White jacket or coat.
With every new drop, one thing is for certain: Off-White knows exactly what sneakerheads want. The brand’s iconic silhouettes have been spotted on the likes of Jay Z, Future and Justin Bieber since the early days of the brand’s inception. Its signature designs have since amassed a cult following: from the chunky Out of Office and the cushioned Odsy-1000, to the logo-laden Off-Court 3.0 and understated Vulcanized Low. Inspired by retro tennis shoes, the Out of Office sneaker — originally launched in September 2020 as part of Off-White’s fall/winter collection — is reenergized in fresh colorways every season. The chunky, sports-inspired silhouette adds a casual element to smarter looks. Most-wanted Out of Office and Odsy-1000 sneakers include baby blue, khaki, green and beige options, all available to shop now on FARFETCH.
SIZING: The Out of Office sneaker fits true to size, with a roomy, comfortable fit. We recommend you opt for your regular size. If you prefer a more snug fit, you may want to go down half a size.
COMFORT: The interior is fully padded for optimum comfort.
CARE: Use a soft bristle brush with warm soapy water to clean mud or grass stains. Store them in their original dust bag and shoe box to keep them looking fresh for longer.