‘Ring the Alarm!’ Virgil Abloh Responds to Plagiarism Accusations After Watchdogs Turn Up the Heat

He’s one of the hottest fashion designers of the moment — and now Virgil Abloh is coming under fire.

The Off-White founder and artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton found himself in the hot seat after fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada claimed that he may have plagiarized creations from two promising streetwear designers.

The styles in question hailed from Abloh’s Off-White fall ’19 men’s show, with Diet Prada in January taking to Instagram to share a yellow-graffitied suit and a green graphic on a black sweater that bore resemblance to designs by independent brands Colrs and Gramm, respectively.

In the latest issue of the The New Yorker (to be released on March 18), Abloh addresses the criticism, saying he had not seen the Colrs design before creating the garment that went down the runway at Paris Fashion Week in January.

“Ring the alarm!” the designer told the publication. “I could go on for a whole hour about the human condition and the magnet that is negativity. That’s why the world is actually like it is. That’s why good doesn’t prevail — because there’s more negative energy. You can create more connective tissue around the idea that this is plagiarized. It’s better just to sit and point your finger. That’s what social media can be. All that space to comment breeds a tendency to fester, versus actually making something.”

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Another men’s fashion week, another @off____white collection with cherry picked references from indie streetwear labels? This time, the designs in question are a yellow graffitied ensemble from Cologne-based @colrsbaby by @punkzec , who showed his AW18 collection at @arisefashionweek in Lagos in April 2018, and a graphic from Manchester label @gramm . It could be a coincidence, but Virgil has been known to swipe designs from the fans he meets, some of who happen to be young creatives themselves. Interestingly enough, @punkzec met Virgil prior to one of his presentations in Paris in 2017. Think they talked design? • #colrsbaby #punkzec #arisefashionweek #lagos #streetwear #graffiti #hypebeast #hype #virgilabloh #offwhite #streetstyle #wiwt #ootd #gramm #hoodie #sweatshirt #manchester #cologne #snobshots #dietprada

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In a post shared mid-January, Diet Prada wrote, “It could be a coincidence, but Virgil has been known to swipe designs from the fans he meets, some of who happen to be young creatives themselves. Interestingly enough, @punkzec [of Colrs] met Virgil prior to one of his presentations in Paris in 2017. Think they talked design?”

It’s not the first time Abloh has stirred controversy for allegedly plagiarizing designs. Diet Prada took a swipe at the designer last summer for a T-shirt featuring a print that it likened to Italian graphic artist A.G. Fronzoni’s work in 1966. That was only a few months after it made comparisons between Abloh’s Ikea designs and furniture designer Paul McCobb’s contemporary chair.

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We know now that Virgil is a fan of Spatialist artist Lucio Fontana’s work (see June 26th post), but we didn’t expect him to ALSO rip off a famed graphic designer’s work for a 1966 exhibition on that very same artist. AG Fronzoni’s ‘Fontana Galleria La Polena Genova 1-28 Ottobre 1966” vs. @off____white ‘s FW16 t-shirt. One of these Fronzoni posters is housed at Milan’s @latriennale , about 15-20 minutes from the Off-White headquarters lol. Dieters, comment if you’d also like to see Fronzoni’s work contextualized within Virgil’s @mcachicago retrospective next June. • #agfronzoni #offwhite #virgilabloh #luciofontana #art #graphicdesign #design #spatialism #latriennale #museum #mcachicago #hypebeast #hypebae #snobshots #tshirt #whitetshirt #jamesdeandaydream #wiwt #ootd #dietprada

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So @virgilabloh & Henrik Most (a creative leader at IKEA Range and Supply) talked design philosophy last month at a workshop with @ikeatoday …specifically about elevating a chair design for their collab so it “feels more like an art object than a typical chair that serves its functions with four equal legs”. Well, that “typical chair” is actually an icon of mid-century design by Paul McCobb for his Planner Group series. Manufactured by Winchendon Furniture Company, it was among the best selling contemporary furniture lines of the 1950s and in production up until 1964…that is until Virgil decided to relaunch it and elevate it (quite literally) with an added doorstop lol. Tbh, we all get your approach by now, but it would actually be much more interesting to know the sources of your “inspiration”…especially if they’re this iconic. • #virgilabloh #ikea #paulmccobb #plannergroup #winchendon #furniture #midcentury #midcenturymodern #industrialdesign #american #ikeahack #offwhite #streetwear #streetstyle #hypebeast #hypebae #interiordesign #dietprada

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