Virgil Abloh recently dropped some insightful thoughts on the future of streetwear as it continues its ongoing conversation with fashion at large. In a 23-minute video chat with Hypebeast, the forward-thinking Off-White founder also explained how his work owes much to the teachings of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
“I think they’re having a conversation, which is, first and foremost, the most important part,” Abloh, the cover star of Hypebeast Issue 20: The X Issue, said of streetwear’s place in the fashion industry. “The way I see it, brands are starting to have a new type of dialogue with the customer. The customer, the public in general, has a lot more knowledge. They’re a lot more discerning. Being a designer now means something different than being a designer the previous generation.”
Asked to describe how he would “label” himself, Abloh reinforced the importance of history. “More than anything, I feel like I’m a descendant of everyone from Kanye West and Pharrell Williams to Basquiat or Warhol,” he said around the three-minute mark in the video up top. “You know, I’m no one, sort of, as the first statement. The second statement is we’re a part of a generation, a movement that goes beyond just the website Hypebeast.”
To understand where we are now, Abloh added, you should draw a line back through previous art movements. “I’m just an assistant to the people that came before me, trying to add to the design that goes forward for the next generation to continue,” he said. “I’m not anything. I’m just a creative.”