Virgil Abloh Debuts a New Step-By-Step Mentorship Series Aimed at Young Black Designers

When it comes to brand building — and building a brand with buzz — Virgil Abloh knows a thing or two. The designer is now bringing his knowledge to a new mentorship series, “Free Game,” which he announced today.

The program, which lives on the designer’s own site, is launching with the specific goal of addressing the disparities in opportunities that face minority communities, particularly Black designers in the fashion space.

“As part of my long-standing initiative to see design, art, and culture more inclusive to young black designers and those coming from non-traditional backgrounds, I wanted to assist in providing the means for them to advance on the road to ownership of their ideas and brands,” said Abloh in the Friday announcement. “I am launching this organic platform for widespread access to information and mentorship. The exact notions and tools that I used to formulate my career open to all. For free.”

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Abloh photographed in 2018.
CREDIT: Lexie Moreland/WWD

Free Game consists of 12 mini-tutorials, each a step that Abloh highlights as essential to building a successful brand, specifically in fashion. Steps include “How to Obtain a Trademark,” “How to Build a Website,” “How to Add Shopify,” and even the streetwear-specific “How to Make a Screen Print.” They consist of a quick overview from Abloh on why the step is important and include external videos, mostly from YouTube, on how to learn each skill set in a DIY way.

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Abloh’s step 1 in Free Game’s 12-step tutorial.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Virgil Abloh

The series is free and available for anyone to access, and Abloh plans to regularly update the site with additional resources regularly.

“There is a lot of logic, conversations, ideas passed around in the year that is 2020,” Abloh says in the program’s intro video on the site. “What I’ve learned is simply that access and information is at the root of most of these initial steps that need to take place.”

Free Game is the latest in a series of Black-led initiatives that Abloh has signed on to in the fashion space. He is a founding member of IN THE BLK, which launched in early October during Paris Fashion Week. In June, the designer raised $1 million to go toward scholarships for Black students through the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund, which is managed in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund and has support from the designer’s partners Evian, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Farfetch and New Guards Group.

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