From being Kanye West’s creative director, Virgil Abloh now runs his own brand Off-White, who just recently outranked Balenciaga and Gucci as the world’s hottest brand.
Who would have thought that Virgil Abloh, a designer who didn’t even go to fashion school, would bag the prestigious “Urban Luxe” award; collaborate with giant brands like Nike; and debut his own collection at his own fashion show in Paris? Yes, all of this happened last 2018. It’s crazy, we know, but just like any other marketers & brand owners out there, we’re also curious to know what, why and how Off-White entered a very crowded industry.
In our recent article, Off-White made the list of the top influencer campaigns in fashion. This time, we’re going down deep into his strategy to fully understand how he captured the heart of the modern consumers:
From Networking to Working with KOLs
Virgil Abloh’s career started out as a hobby. He’s so drawn with curating stuff that he decided to start printing shirts to give as gifts to his friends and family. He never really assumed that he would reach his current success, but years of hard work proved how deserving he is of the attention. But how did he get here? And how did working with KOLs help boost Off-White’s sales?
In an interview with Fast Company, he opened up about his humble beginnings. Back then, he would try to reach out to different designers and artists to present his clothes. There were a lot of “zero” days where nobody contacted him. Luckily, his designs landed in the hands of the one and only Kanye West. In an instant, he became his creative director, and the rest is history.
From that, Abloh’s network became vast. He managed to work with fashion model Bella Hadid for an Instagram story campaign. Months later, he was able to partner with more models including Kendall Jenner, who became his “muse” at last year’s Met Gala; and Aduta Kech, 2018’s model of the year, who became one of the key models for Off-White’s collaboration with Nike.
Reaching The “Global Brand” Status
With a goal to reach more consumers and become a global brand, Off-White opened flagship stores in different parts of the world including Hong Kong, Philippines, UK, just to name a few.
Every store opening instigated long queues and thousands of people raving online. Different groups of influencers from several countries started posting on their social media accounts to build “hype”
With all of this, Off-White was able to break the glass ceiling and become one of the fastest-rising brands in the world.
Transparency Behind His Creative Process
It took years of content creation for Off-White to become one of the most followed fashion brands online. In fact, their Instagram account has now over 6.4 million followers (and counting!). But what is Off-White doing that other brands are not? Well, Virgil Abloh is very much transparent with everything about his clothing brand, especially in his personal account. From the creative process to his journey to collaborating with other brands, he is never selfish to his audience.
Let’s be real: some of Off-White’s fabric quality are really not as good as that of Gucci or Balenciaga, but Abloh knows what’s cool and “in” at the moment.
He uses his power and knowledge to curate social media contents that would transcend to different cultures and ages. And that’s the kind of marketing that brands should take note of. While his focus is to increase sales and ROI, he knows where to draw the line.
Influencers is a key channel that made Virgil Abloh’s Off-White reach untapped audiences, and it looks like they’ll continue leveraging this strategy in the coming years.
At the end of the day, it’s not always about selling your brand. It’s also about making your audience feel welcome to your world through visually pleasing contents.
Money will come if you know how to connect with your target consumers!