"What's my DNA?" Virgil Abloh asks to an overflowing auditorium at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Abloh goes on to provide his audience with a "cheat code"--advice he wishes he had received as a student. He then unpacks a series of "shortcuts" for cultivating a "personal design language." Trained as an architect and engineer, Abloh has translated the tools and techniques of his student days into the world of fashion, product design, and music. His label, Off-White, works in seeming contradictions, marrying streetwear with couture, collaborating with brands like Nike, Ikea, and the Red Cross; musicians like Lil Uzi Vert and Rihanna; and "mentors" like Rem Koolhaas. Impervious to hurdles ("They literally don't exist."), Abloh takes us behind the scenes of his design process, sharing the essentials of editing, problem-solving, and storytelling. He paints a picture of his DNA, and then flips the question: What's your DNA?
The Incidents is a series of publications based on events that occured at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design between 1936 and tomorrow. Edited by Jennifer Sigler and Leah Whitman-Salkin
Copublished with the Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Virgil Abloh (1980-2021) was artistic director of the menswear collection at Louis Vuitton and founder and CEO of the fashion label Off-White. In 2018, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. He was an artist, architect, engineer, and designer. After earning a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, he completed a master's degree in architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Abloh had also curated exhibitions of his work, and, in 2019 had a retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.