T-shirts, hoodies, hats, jackets and other concert souvenirs, emblazoned with faces, logos and album art, have always been part the program for Celebs. But amid dwindling album sales, driven by massive technological disruption, and the rising importance of live concerts, tour ‘merch’ (as it’s known in the business) has become a more significant part of their business models, setting off a race amongst top acts like Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Rihanna to elevate their offering.
American designer, DJ and stylist Virgil Abloh came to prominence as Kanye West ‘s creative director. He has since made waves in the fashion world with his luxury streetwear label, Off-White.
Born in 1980 to Ghanaian parents, Abloh grew up in Chicago. He obtained his bachelor degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002 and went on to study architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
After working for an architecture firm for two years, Abloh shifted his focus to fashion. In 2009, he founded RSVP Gallery, an art gallery and menswear boutique in Chicago. That same year, he joined Kanye West’s creative agency Donda as creative director, overseeing projects like stage shows and concert merchandise.
In 2012, Abloh launched his first fashion brand, Pyrex Vision, which screen-printed logos onto Champion t-shirts and dead stock Ralph Lauren rugby shirts. Alongside this, he collaborated with Matthew Williams and Heron Preston as part of a collective called Been Trill.
Virgil Abloh has partnered with Kid Cudi to design some limited edition merch in conjunction with Cudder’s new “MR. RAGER” collection, presented in partnership with Bravado.
The four-piece capsule, designed by Abloh, was launched this weekend at the Camp Flog Gnaw festival in Los Angeles. Cudi will then be headlining the event the following day on Sunday.
See ‘The RAGER’ Collection: