talking spaces with off-white’s virgil abloh
From New York, Los Angeles, London and beyond, the best in established and emerging designers descended on Denmark for this season’s CIFF Raven.
The Copenhagen International Fashion Fair (or CIFF for short) is the leading and most innovative Mens trade show in the world and is instrumental in showcasing Copenhagen as a leading European hub for Menswear fashion. Centre to this is Virgil Abloh, the Creative Director of OFF-WHITE, who has amassed a cult following for his designs as well as his working as Kanye West's Creative Director and DJ-ing around the world. His presence at the fair was met with praise from international buyers and the Danish fashion elite alike.
Virgil has created and curated an installation entitled Don't Look Down based around the autumn/winter 15 collection just shown at Paris Fashion Week. We caught up with the creative polymath to discuss creating a 360 sensory experience in fashion.
Explain a little bit about your thinking behind the installation.
Every time that I come to one of these things that addresses my brand, I'm more interested in embracing being a novice in fashion, very much dialled into what makes my brand, my brand. So this is an opportunity to explain my inspiration instead of just making clothes from my inspiration. The installation is based around the whole mountaineering mood that inspired the collection. One look is a mannequin hanging from the ceiling; it's almost dangling on purpose in the clothes from the collection. The idea is that you can walk around it and amongst it. There's the whole mood of falling, the name of the collection is Don't Look Down, so it's all about the willpower to climb, but the collection also delves into the willpower to succeed in an urban context.
Why do you think it's important to have an installation? Is just showing clothes no longer enough?
For me, I'm not really into the commerce of clothes. I don't do it for the business; I don't even look at the numbers. I just do it for the ideas sake. To me, that's what a designer is, it's making propositions. So my proposition is you can walk in it, you can experience it. I could have long winded responses but I like shit that speaks for itself. So someone comes in here, whether they know it or not, they are getting this long ass conversation that I've had. That's why I love art. Everything can be distilled down to basic elements.
I guess it gives the objective person coming to view it a chance to interpret it how they want to, without you closely defining it.
Exactly. My background is in architecture, so, to me, this is more of an architectural thing than anything else.
Why is it important to show in Denmark?
Anywhere is just as important as anywhere else. The group here supports young creatives. When a group does that, I support them.
How have you found working with CIFF?
It couldn't be better. A 12 on a scale of 1 to 10. They support artistry. They don't edit.