Off-White Makes a Statement for the Fearless
Too many users on your Netflix account at once. Your phone is dying and you forgot to bring a charger. Merda! With all of our #firstworldproblems it’s easy to overlook the current state of the world. In his Spring 2018 menswear collection, Off-White designer Virgil Abloh attempts to refocus our attention towards the plight of refugees. The son of Ghana refugees himself, Abloh opens up an important dialogue about ethical responsibility to a new generation of trend-setting millennials. “Kids will go and research the messaging they see on Instagram,” says Abloh. “Are we talking about garments, or are we talking about the world at large?”
At his menswear show in Florence, Abloh projected politically-charged poems regarding the Syrian and Palestinian crises in collaboration with artist Jenny Holzer. He opened the show with ghostly transparent silhouettes inspired by survival gear and uniforms of rescue workers. These were enhanced by the strategic placement of hardware that lent an athletic, modern edge with clever zippers that allow for unexpected glimpses of skin. The reason being, according to Abloh, he “was zeroing in on a life raft, the colors, the warnings, the plastic.” Yet emerging alongside the more tactical looks came an updated take on men’s tailoring comprised of proportion play and hyper-technical athletic streetwear. There were micro short and extra wide cropped styles, loose trousers, and jackets featuring loops and more added zippers on the back. Shirts with binding straps, knitted tank tops, ripped up tops, and fanny packs with the show’s title “TEMPERATURE.” Also playing around with textures, he utilized fabrics ranging from nylon to knits to terrycloth.
Throughout the show, however, it was nearly impossible to forget or disregard the message behind the looks at the center of it all. Off-White is being watched by the millennial generation that has the power to make a difference in the world, and Alboh is using his platform to send a specific political message about compassion to his eager following.