French luxury conglomerate LVMH announced that it has acquired a 60% stake in its star Louis Vuitton menswear designer Virgil Abloh’s Off-White label, with plans to expand his role within the the luxury group. He will help LVMH launch new brands and partner with existing brands “beyond the realm of fashion” via a statement. Abloh will retain a 40% stake in his label and continue on as creative director, as well in his post at Louis Vuitton, while also contributing to LVMH’s emerging brand portfolios. This is a major power move on both parties’ behalf, as the designer launches his plans to make Off-White a “truly multi-line luxury brand” with the financial backing from LVMH and the latter gaining the cultural and social currency that Off-White brings.
Off-White — a go-to for models like Joan Smalls, Bella Hadid, Hailey Beiber and Kendall Jenner — has been at the pulse of re-defining the term “streetwear” and merging facets of the cultural zeitgeist since its conception in 2013. Abloh is no stranger to creating hype as a multi-hyphenate — DJ, product designer and artistic director — from his first brand Pyrex Vision to creative directing for Kanye West, to his many collaborations with (LVMH-owned) Rimowa, Champion, IKEA and of course Nike. The Chicago native has built his career on existing within the now, working between disciplines and shifting culture forward so it only makes sense that LVMH is offering Abloh a seat at the table.
This acquisition comes straight off a stream of major acquisitions and announcements at the luxury spirts-to-jewelry conglomerate. Last year LVMH shook the luxury industry with their acquisition of Tiffany & Co. as well as just last week, announcing their minority stake in Phoebe Philo’s new eponymous venture. It’s clear that the French luxury group is on course to expand its presence even further, tapping into some of the most culturally significant, reputable brands around.
Abloh made history in 2018, when he was hired as Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton, LVMH’s biggest revenue driver, making him arguably the highest profile Black designer in the industry. As the child of Ghanaian immigrants, Abloh hopes to help foster diversity in the industry with this move. This has been a mission of the Louis Vuitton men’s artistic director as of late. Last year he created the “Postmodern Scholarship Fund” in efforts to help Black students and promote diversity in fashion. With this major fashion play, we truly hope this inspires more fashion brands, conglomerates and executives to strive for inclusion in terms of equity as opposed to simply symbolic representation. Diversifying beyond the runways and into the board rooms.
In anticipation of what’s to come, watch the most recent Off-White Fall/Winter 2021 show below: