Why Virgil Abloh’s new book is the pocket inspiration we all need

Move over IG, Abloh-isms is the real deal for words of wisdom. We pick our fave buzzwords from creative powerhouse Virgil's latest work


Virgil Abloh: artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton and founder and CEO of fashion label Off-White. Not forgetting, of course, a DJ, artist, best friend to Kayne West and published author. Many of you will know he has another talent: an ability to coin the latest buzzwords and whip up a memorable quote that have us all drooling for more.

His latest project leans on the latter. Compiled from interviews with Virgil and other writings, Abloh-isms is a 160-page book; a covetable collection of dreamy thoughts on life and soundbites of his dazzling career.

As someone who’s regularly quoted as one of the most influential individuals in fashion and the creative industries, it’s about time we soaked in some of Virgil’s words of wisdom in permanent print.

Abloh-isms by Virgil Abloh

Mottos for life

Split into sections, such as Streetwear, Fashion and Design, Art and Creativity and Point of View, Abloh-isms is like dipping into the mind of a genius. Here are some of our favourite quotes to take away and muse over:

On black culture

“Black influence has created a new ecosystem, which can grow and support different types of life that we couldn’t before.”

On who inspired him

“I’m not that much of a basketball fan, but Michael Jordan sort of made me.”

On diversity

“Diversity brings to mind people from different backgrounds holding hands – I say fuck that. It’s too small minded. I’m not even into the construct of race – it’s a dead-end for me. Screw skin color.”

On career success

“Hard work, good ideas and persistence will undoubtedly lead to success.”

The world of ‘Mr Sneaker’

What makes the book more remarkable is that Virgil wasn’t served success on a plate. A self-starter, he financed his own projects in Chicago in the United States, before jetting off to work as an intern in Rome for Fendi. His revolutionary style came into its own at Off-White, which has gone onto shape how we view streetwear and elevate how we wear sneakers, turning the humble trainer into a piece of art.

As Larry Warsh, Virgil’s editor, says in the intro to the book: “All parts of the industry now scramble to get their own grasp on collaborations, sneakers and streetwear, Abloh will always hold his place as the shaker that drove new luxury forward.” Amen.

Abloh-ism is great gift for the fashion-lover in your life, or keep it within easy reach on your bookshelf so you can dip into his world when you need a moment of self-reflection or meditation.

Abloh-ism is out now and is published by Princeton University Press, priced £12.99.

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