Why Did Virgil Abloh Sell Off-White to LVMH?
Virgil Abloh, the founder and CEO of Off-White just sold the Milian-based luxury streetwear brand to French conglomerate, LVMH. The designer, one of the few Black designers helming a majority French fashion house—as artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear ready line—will be taking on a bigger role within LVMH as he works across sectors that the company owns.
As part of the agreement, LVMH will get a 60 per cent stake in Off-White and Abloh will remain as artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear line. He will also retain a 40 per cent stake and continuing as creative director of his streetwear brand. "I'm getting a seat at the table," Abloh says to New York Times.
Abloh's arrival also marks a change from LVMH as his street-smart fashion, diverse background and pop culture influences serve as a contrast to other LVMH-backed brands which are considered as more "traditional" and rooted in European heritage.
Off-White also stands out among the traditional luxury brands because of its streetwear roots—this move will further the confluence of streetwear and high fashion. This also makes Abloh one of the most powerful Black executives in the luxury fashion industry.
The prolific designer, who received no formal fashion training, draws on his engineering and architecture background. His collaborations are instant hits whether it's with Nike, Ikea, Mercedes Benz or Rimowa. He hopes that the partnership with LVMH will develop Off-White into a "truly multi-line luxury brand", allowing it to dive into other ventures beyond fashion while his new role will help foster greater diversity in the luxury fashion industry.
This new arrangement may not come as a surprise as LVMH continues its expansion—they bought Tiffany last year and will also be having a minority stake in Phoebe Philo's new eponymous brand. LVMH also just recently opened La Samaritaine, a renovated luxury department and is set to open the high-end Cheval Blanc hotel in addition to a Dior spa later this year.