Factors like influence and importance play a part in a brand’s growth in the fashion industry. These factors are apparent in the Milan-based fashion brand Off White. The brand has over five million followers, and several celebrities wear their outfits. They also boast many collaborations with their items, which are mentioned several hundred thousand times on social media. Their products are also sold on the resale market for triple the original price. All these factors matter, but it doesn’t answer the question ‘why is off white expensive?’ Keep reading to discover why but first, let’s dive into the history of this expensive fashion brand.
Why is Off White Expensive – Tracing the Answers to the Brand History
To better understand the brand and answer the question ‘why is Off White expensive,’ it is essential to understand the man behind the brand.
The Man Behind the Brand
After studying the civil engineering program, Virgil Abloh graduated in 2002 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This same year, he met Kanye West and started designing his merchandise and album art. At the same time as working for Kanye, Abloh began to take a master’s degree in architecture, and he graduated in 2006. Kanye West and Virgil Abloh interned together at Fendi in 2009, where they were not allowed to do anything. However, they became closer friends until Abloh officially became Kanye’s creative director in 2010.
This made Abloh a trendsetter because every rapper now has a creative director. His first significant product was the art direction for Kanye’s album with Jay-Z. Therefore, this project pulled him into a broader hip-hop coal circle. In 2012, he opened his Pyrex Vision boutique. It was the following year that Abloh founded Off-White. The design aesthetic for his brand was diagonal lines and iconography of American cities. Abloh passed away on November 28, 2021, after battling cancer for years.
Off-White History and Success
Off White was established in 2012, but its popularity didn’t just begin. The brand is only just reaching new heights in popularity, confounding curious fashion observers. The brand’s guiding principle is ‘everything in quotes.’ This means that everything is ironic when it comes to this brand. Additionally, their recognizable design element is quotation marks.
An example is a black dress by this brand that features the words little black dress on it in quotes. Off-white produces many clothes that you would recognize as high fashion. However, all their products are recognizable by the ostentatious price tags that come with them. The brand often releases $1000 sweatshirts, pricey phone cases, and several other items fuel the resale industry.
When Supreme sold a brick for $2000, people recognized it was a joke. However, Off-White isn’t as it caters to the rich club kids of New York and Milan. Pop stars, rappers, and the high-fashion elite also wear this streetwear brand. The founder, Virgil Abloh is a leader and a prolific designer. He attributes Off-White’s success to a public that’s prime to support brands.
The brand debuted its first womenswear at the Paris Fashion Week in 2014. This made the brand become a finalist for the LVMH brand. This nomination provided Abloh with an entrance into rooms with top designers and buyers, and they loved the brand.
Off-White’s Growth in the Fashion Industry
In 2017, the brand partnered with Nike to redesign ten of their best-selling and classic products. The sneakers became quite popular and just as hard to purchase. Most of the available pairs ended up in the hands of celebrities, and soon, the resale price hovered over $1000. In 2018, he earned the title of artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear. It was one of the most discussed topics throughout the year by top public figures in the fashion industry. Afterward, Off-White designed a Nike collection for Serena Williams.
Over the years, there have been several collaborations with brands as their designer, including Hiroshi Fujiwara, for who he designed a money clip that looked like a credit card. Catering to young consumers, the brand continues to grow as streetwear demand grows.
It’s understandable why Off-White would be susceptible to criticism; it is partly due to its fashion genre. People created luxury streetwear to restrict luxury fashion to the white elite. This notion contradicts the fashion segment’s democratic root. Furthermore, its high price point makes it inaccessible to most of the population. Although Abloh desired to put the skateboard style in a revered position, this hasn’t manifested itself in his customer base. Off-White customers are predominantly wealthy millennials and not everyday individuals.
Why is Off-White Expensive?
Understanding the brand doesn’t fully answer the question, ‘why is off white expensive?’ Below are some of the reasons Off-White’s merchandise is expensive but continues to sell quite successfully.
Off-White Has Strong Youth Appeal in Fashion
This brand is arguably the hottest streetwear brand in the world. According to the fashion and e-commerce platform Lyst’s quarterly report, Off-White climbed 33 places in just a year. The brand also surpassed fashion houses like Gucci and Balenciaga for the first time. The brand isn’t a publicly-traded company. Therefore it’s hard to determine its revenue. Streetwear is today’s luxury, and it continues to promote the high-end fashion industry. Customers today are becoming younger, with Millennials and Gen Z taking over the fashion industry.
The combination of wealth and accessibility is the reason behind Off-White’s creativity. The customers of this brand are sometimes 12 years old, and Abloh shares that that is the brand’s goal. The brand also benefits from trends like the rise of hip-hop as the dominant form of American music. He capitalizes on trends like this faster than other brands. Nobody understands the modern world better than Abloh, and he continually produces merchandise that shapes the younger generation.
Implementing Stylistic Individuality in Designs
One of the top answers to the question ‘why is Off-White expensive’ is its stylistic individuality in designs. This approach of expression allows consumers to reflect their personalities through their outfits. Abloh understands that the fashion people wear the choices they make. Catering to the younger generation continually looking to define their identity, it’s vital to provide merchandise that presents who they are. Off-White successfully markets its products by delivering streetwear products that individualize its consumers. The brand shifts focus from perceptions to who you are and what you choose to stand for.
Off-White is a huge brand, which explains why the brand is such a big topic in the fashion industry. Some of the iconic pieces from the brand consist of Rihanna’s $1000 over-the-knee white leather booths that say for walking in quotation marks. However, Rihanna only wore these boots to stand on stage and perform a private concert. In addition, this luxury streetwear brand is famous for the eye-popping price tags found on its merchandise. Therefore, many people are consistently wondering ‘why is Off-White expensive?’
This article provides insight into the brand’s history and its growth as a brand. It also offers answers as to why this brand produces such expensive merchandise. However, with many youth-craving fashion brands copying this brand today, it’s clear that this will remain a high-end streetwear brand for a long time.