YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR: VIRGIL ABLOH.

To so many young persons out there, life is about securing the degree. Then comes the 9-5 white collar job that eats away on everything fun in your life. This whole concept has left fatal stabs in the hearts of the actual interests of people and has left people yearning for more. Then, things started to come up. Services needed to be rendered and things people could not do themselves needed to be done by other people. The most common reason given, is that people started refusing to give up on their dreams and started to actualize them.

They came up with their own business and companies, starting small at first and then growing to something August. People—Young people, became entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship in itself sounds like a decision that takes almost a second to make but years to put to fruition and its frequently plied roads are often filled with roadblocks and dead ends. Also, losing one’s focus can lead to unexpected diversions. Yet with all these setbacks and vigorous tasks, thousands and thousands of both young and old entrepreneurs actualize their dreams and help the societies they can in one way or the other.

So what exactly can be said that motivates entrepreneurs or want-to-be entrepreneurs? Passion, dedication, the drive and push that comes with positive pressure, the financial recognition and success that comes with having your own business and of course, other famous entrepreneurs. Our famous young entrepreneur for today is Virgil Abloh. Now a lot of you are probably thinking “Virgil who ?” He might not be known to you but he is more of a compound name amongst the fashionistas. Ever heard of the famous OFF WHITE brand that swept the streets of Lagos during both summers of ’17 and ’18 ? Abloh is the mastermind behind it. He is the CEO of the OFF-WHITE fashion house and also the artistic director of the extremely famous LOUIS VUITTON MENSWEAR.

Virgil Abloh was born on September 30, 1980 to Ghanaian immigrant parents of the Ewe ethnicity. He was born and raised in Illinois, Chicago. He went to Boylan Catholic High school and graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering. He then went ahead to receive his masters in Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Abloh really started to focus on fashion while he was trying to bag his masters degree for architecture. His main inspiration came from Rem Koolhaas; One of the biggest names in Architecture history who is known for putting in a lot of creative life into his outstanding works. He then started small by designing t shirts and wrote about fashion on a quite a number of blogs, one of them being the famous Brilliance Blog. Virgil told Vogue in 2018 that Koolhaas “piqued my interest and opened my gateway into fashion.” . After this beautiful awakening in 2006, Virgil goes along the year’s making a huge name for himself in the fashion industry.

In 2009, Abloh interned in Fendi where he met famous Rapper, Kanye west. They became best buddies and in 2010, Abloh became the director of Donda, Kanye’s agency. In 2011, he was appointed by Kanye to be the creative director of the Jay-z Album, Watch The Throne. This role earned Abloh his first ever Grammy nomination. In 2012, Abloh launched his first brand, Pyrex Vision. It basically contained dead-stock and out of sale Ralph Lauren flannel shirts which he designed. Note that as of the 2019 we are in, each of these formerly dead-stock shirts now sell for as high as 550 dollars. 2013 finally comes and Abloh shuts down Pyrex for Off-white which is based in Milan. In the Off white brand, Abloh goes harder than ever, creating a mix of art, streetwear, rad style, music and luxury, describing it as the gray area between black and white.

In 2015, the Off-white brand state to gain steam after it was worn by The famous artiste, Beyoncé in the music video of “feeling myself” were she was featured by another famous artiste and rapper, Nicki Minaj. That same year, The Off-white brand was named a finalist for the LVMH prize (stands for the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) prize. In 2016, he then opens his first concept store in Tokyo and debuts his Grey are furniture which is also part of the Off-white brand where he creates iron chairs, couches and so on. He was also inducted into the BOF500 which is known as the Business of Fashion industry that contains an index of people shaping the fashion industry to what it is today.

2017, amongst others, was one of the most outstanding years for Abloh, here, he starts to collaborate with big brands and names like Jimmy Choo, Takashi Murakami, Warby Parker, Jacob the Jeweler. This same year, Abloh released his first song titled “Orvnge” featuring Boys Noize. And finally in this year, Abloh signed an amazing partnership deal with Nike, the most famous sneakers brand in the world where he recreates 10 of Nike’s iconic silhouette in an amazing work-in-progress style. In 2018, Abloh was then pronounced the new artistic director for the Louis Vuitton menswear making him the first African ever to lead the menswear line. He showed off his first collection in the men’s fashion week in Paris in 2018 and Famous artistes like Playboy Carti, Kid Cudi, Asap Nast, Steve Lacy walked for the show. He also collaborated with Nike in another deal to create an original Outfit for Serena Williams to wear throughout the 2018 US Open. 2019 is here and Abloh is collaborating with IKEA to make furniture for Millennials. He is also the Dj residency at Wynn Las Vegas Nightclub, with Wynn also agreeing to open up an off-white store.

Virgil Abloh through clear dedication, focus and unrelenting vigor, has made his way to the top in the global fashion industry. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Times Magazine in 2018. Abloh has hosted solo art exhibitions in Tokyo, Beverly Hills and New York And definitely does not plan to stop. One of his designs for Nike, his Off-white Air Jordan won shoe of the year in 2017. The interview he had with W magazine basically sums up that he is here to stay and give the society its needs in terms of fashion. He says, “We were a generation that was interested in fashion and weren’t supposed to be there. We saw this as our chance to participate and make current culture. In a lot of ways, it felt like we were bringing more excitement than the industry was.”  

Virgil also seems to be excelling in his personal life as he is happily married to Shannon Sundberg with children.

Olawunmi Bakare.

 

 

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