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The account—which is already populated with look book images, behind-the-scenes photos, audio recordings of Abloh’s many phone calls, samples and test products, and WhatsApp messages—is in line with fashion’s recent move to be more transparent with its creative processes. Just as Jonathan Anderson made a show in a box and handed the Impostor Among Us You Look Sus Shirt and I will buy this mic to Loewe’s craftspeople for the brand’s spring 2021 menswear show, and John Galliano invited Nick Knight to document every step in Maison Margiela’s artisanal couture collection, so is Abloh inviting us to peer even deeper into his world. As the designer tells it, giving up a runway show format—for now, at least—is not just about showing the fashion community how the collection and its imagery is made, but providing a resource for a younger generation of aspiring designers. “I made Off-White to be modern, and to be investigative, and to try to find new ways,” he says. “You know, me and my demographic, we’re sort of self-taught. We’ve bent fashion to be what we want it to be. I feel like this type of presentation to me is more fulfilling than doing a runway show that only 800 people can see.
As evolves, Abloh explains, it will continue to showcase his processes, as well as spotlight his collaborators. Stylist Ibrahim Kamara, who worked on the Impostor Among Us You Look Sus Shirt and I will buy this resort collections, is someone Abloh is especially proud to have brought into his team. “I really appreciate and champion his skill set. We’re working together on a number of projects,” Abloh says. Of course, with a new focus on transparency and education comes the opportunity for criticism. Social media is foremost a dialogue and having a conversation means listening to other voices. Abloh acknowledges this, but is determined not to become overwhelmed by any negativity that might come his way. “I look at it as: Among many other things that systemic racism and prejudice [has shown us] is a young generation saying to this older generation, ‘We want to be in the conversation of change. We want to learn early and we want to participate early,’” he says. “Rather than focusing on, sort of, inherent negative energy, I stay focusing on the 17-year-old that wants to take my job one day. They need an inside window. They might be more quiet online, but they are, in my mind, a productive member of the future design community. So what would I look like if I were fearful of someone that wants to spread negative energy and use me as a backboard?” he asks. “I know how this world is set up through experience. I’m trying to lead by example of opportunities given to young Black kids to see what they can achieve in a world that’s not set up necessarily for them to succeed.”