The Off White brand can be referred to as the makeover of the former PYREX VISION brand. It was established by Virgil Abloh and was incorporated in Milan in 2013. Abloh defined the Off White brand as the grey area between white and black. The Off White brand serves as a common ground between premium fashion and streetwear.
Off White is known to have the zebra pattern, which is known explicitly as a diagonal spray. Off White has a principle of putting everything in quotes. The main recognizable element of the design is usually placed in quotation marks. For example, “Scarf” written on a scarf from the brand, “Shoelace” written on the shoelace of sneakers, on a tiny black dress, “Little Black Dress” written on it in quotation marks. The Off White brand is common among many celebrities such as Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, Bella Hadid, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Travis Scott. Off White has collaborated with many famous brands like Nike, Levi, IKEA, etc.
In this article, we will explore the following:
- Off white history
- Off white collaborations
- Marketing strategies
Off White History
Virgil Abloh obtained his Master’s degree in architecture from the Institute of technology in Illinois. He established the Pyrex vision brand in 2012. Pyrex vision faced controversies concerning its designs as a knock-off from Ralph Lauren’s flannels. He eventually rebranded the company into the now known Off White brand.
In 2009, together with Kanye West, Virgil Abloh interned at the Fendi brand in Rome. In 2010, Virgil became the creative director of Kanye West’s creative agency – Donda, only about one year later.
The parent organization for Off White is called the New Guards Group, and in August 2019, José Neves, the owner of Farfetch, purchased the New Guards Group for US$675 million. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, in June 2021, announced that they would be taking control of 60% of the company, leaving 40% in the management of Virgil Abloh. Virgil Abloh, on the establishment of Off White, said, “In a large part streetwear is seen as cheap. What my goal has been is to add an intellectual layer to it and make it credible”.
Virgil Abloh’s success story does not stop at the clothing line. It spans towards music, and art, among others. Off White seems to be a jack of all trades, and they are good at what they do. Virgil’s first big gig was the art direction for Kanye West’s and Jay-Z’s joint music album tagged “Watch the Throne” in 2011. He designed the art with Kanye West, making him famous in the hip-hop circle.
Off White Collaborations
The Off White brand has collaborated with many famous brands in the music and fashion industry. Here are a few of the significant collaborations he has done in times past:
Collaboration with Kanye West
In 2011, his first collaborative effort was with Kanye West on “Watch the Throne.” The album by Jay-Z and Kanye West was a success and even grew to win a Grammy award.
Collaboration with Levi
Between 2016 and 2017, Off White collaborated with Levi. The company released twelve sneakers that they made and crafted. Of the twelve crafted sneakers, six of them were unisex.
Collaboration with Nike
In 2017, Nike and Off White collaborated on “The Ten” project. This project involved Nike and Off White designers working on Nineties-style shoes and updating their designs. They used materials like tulle and plastic to upgrade the design. The collaborative effort featured Nike Air Force One, Converse, Nike Blazers shoes, Nike Air Max, and Air Jordans.
Collaboration with Champion brand
Together with the Champion brand, Off White collaborated to develop 16 clothing items in 2017. The 16 clothing items include sweatshirts, track pants, fleeces, hoodies, and shorts, all having a form of Off-White™ signature.
Collaboration with A$AP Rocky’s label
August 2017 saw a collaboration between A$AP Rocky’s label – AWGE and Off White for an exclusive T-shirt design.
Collaboration with Jimmy Choo
In 2018, inspired by Lady Diana, the former Princess of Wales, Off White, and Jimmy Choo teamed up to create a summer and spring collection. It involved crystal-embellished stilettos wrapped in PVC, quilted boots with 80’s styling, and satin sandals.
Collaboration with IKEA
IKEA saw a collaboration with Off White on household items targeted at millennials. The collaborative effort between the two brands gave rise to a unique edition rug. The collab is called MARKERAD, and they aren’t what you would originally find in an IKEA store; they mix minimalism with detail and a sense of humour to appeal to their customers. Examples are the “wet grass” rug or the IKEA receipt rug.
Collaboration with Sunglass Hut
Between 2018 and 2019, Off White collaborated with Sunglass Hut on a project directed towards unisex sunglasses “for your eyes only.” The collab featured the curved cat-eye type, large oval frame type, and a rectangular frame with inspiration from the ’90s as part of the collection.
These and many others are the collaborations Off White has engaged in. The online community feels like any collaborative collection with the Off White brand automatically turns gold.
Off White Marketing strategy
The brand, Off White, has risen to stardom in just a few years after its inception. The marketing strategy responsible for that level of unprecedented growth is worth studying. According to Virgil Abloh, the creator, the brand’s success is due to the public ready to support brands. The brand’s primary targets are the youths and millennials. The careful attention to detail put in by the creator Virgil Abloh and the hype and engagement it receives from millennials’ social media engagements are responsible for the brand’s growth. Fashion accounts are the third most followed accounts on Instagram, coming closely behind lifestyle and music, and Abloh took advantage of that.
The brand’s profitability stands on a trifecta, Hip hop’s popularity in the United States and the world, the expanding market for luxury goods among millennials, and the rising demand for streetwear. Abloh speaks the millennial language and creates a clothing line that responds to the needs of the millennials. He not only makes clothes but also focuses on the lifestyle that goes with the clothing brand. Looking at Off White History, here are specific points to note:
Create products you can support
Off White history shows that creating products you can take pride in is essential to making a global brand. Create accessories that take quality paramount and do not compromise on it. Create products that can measure up to standards.
Self promote your brand
Self-promotion is the main reason why creating products you can support is essential. Virgil Abloh does a great job at promoting the brand. The target audience for Off White is the millennials, and 59% of American millennials use Instagram often. It is no surprise that the Off White brand and the creator himself – Virgil Abloh, are very active on Instagram and other social media platforms.
Identify your target audience
Identifying your target audience sets precedence for you to run your business. For Off White, millennials are the target audience, and as such, their promotional activities are in places with a high propensity for millennials, such as Instagram. Instagram would have been a wrong choice for Off White if their target audience was more of the older generation.
History reveals where we are coming from and can set a precedence for the future. You can study the history of the Off White brand to make predictions. In the few years of existence, it has successfully collaborated with big brands like Nike, IKEA, Louis Vuitton, Levi’s, and Kanye West’s Donda, among others; it is only a prediction of future possibilities.
Off White history can serve as a case study for the growth and development of any brand. As stated by Virgil Abloh, it isn’t easy to categorize it as a fashion or an art brand due to its diversity. Virgil Abloh, who is partly a DJ, a part architect, somewhat a graphics designer, and the creative director for Donda, literally carried his diversity and love for creation into the brand “Off White,” which makes it able to fit into many circles.