Virgil Abloh aspires to represent a generation with his fashion designs.
The founder of Off-White and artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear department was first inspired to make clothing more representative after being refused entry to several shows back in 2009 during a visit to Paris Fashion Week with Kanye West.
Back then, Abloh discovered that the industry "wasn't particularly welcoming", but he has been driven ever since to make sure young designers and fashion fans aren't excluded.
"I don't know how many shows I've done since 2016 but it's been enjoyable to define the space that I would perceivably be put in," he told Dazed magazine. "My motivation this whole time has been to represent for a generation - I'm still thinking about the kid that couldn't get into fashion shows."
Abloh believes streetwear has helped to promote diversity and inclusivity in the business, and has worked together with the likes of Shayne Oliver from Hood by Air to create a "new atmosphere".
"I've never been one that felt like the doors were closing - I'm an optimist so I don't even recognise that, that's how I got to where I'm at. I think that what helped it along was streetwear was also a global concept," the 39-year-old stated.
Despite acknowledging the success of his streetwear, Abloh confessed he was initially disappointed that his clothing was described as that by the press.
"From that frustration, I decided if 'streetwear' was gonna be the sign of the times I was gonna define it rather than be defined by it. I needed to do a show to define what 'streetwear' could be, and do it with urgency, you know," he added.
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