Virgil Abloh Applauds ‘Intern Spirit’ Throughout His FNAA Shoe of the Year Speech

Presenters and recipients delivered captivating messages through their speeches at the 2017 Footwear News Achievement Awards on Tuesday. But it was Shoe of the Year winner Virgil Abloh who stole the show with his words.

The Off-White leader, who won the award for the Air Jordan 1 from his “The Ten” collection, was introduced by famed designer Heron Preston, who gave insight on what working with Nike meant to Abloh.

“I know for Virgil, personally, that this collaboration fulfilled a lifelong dream of working with Nike,” Preston said.

Virgil Abloh Air Jordan 1 Nike The Ten
Virgil Abloh’s Air Jordan 1 from his collection with Nike, dubbed “The Ten.”

Through his speech, Abloh explained how important the thoughts and drive of interns can be, which is a mindset he still employs even as a successful designer today.

“This award, to me, is representative of my emotion as an intern. That emotion of showing up to this dream job — or let’s even go back further — that emotion of dreaming of a dream job, showing up and proving you can add ideas to an industry that’s already set in its ways, that always delivers great things,” Abloh explained.

He shared that his Nike “The Ten” lineup wouldn’t have been possible without it.

“This award wouldn’t have happened to me if I didn’t have that same intern spirit. And I showed up to Nike and said, ‘Hey, I like sneakers, I want to design a bunch of them,” Abloh said.

But it was the last line he delivered that resonated with attendees the most.

“In closing, high-five your intern tomorrow and tell them they could win the Shoe of the Year award, too,” he said.

Virgil Abloh Nike The Ten Air Jordan 1
FNAA Shoe of the Year winner Virgil Abloh.
CREDIT: Andrew Boyle

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