Virgil Abloh, (celebrated creative director/DJ/fashion mogul) has taken the time to show the receipts of his labor of love with the extremely detailed book ICONS on his contribution to sneaker culture through a longtime relationship with Nike.
Starting with the groundbreaking “The Ten” series back in 2017, where Abloh transformed favorite Nike models: the Blazer Mid, Air Jordan I, Air Presto, Air VaporMax, Air Max 90…flipped them on some inside-out, rip the guts, show the stitching, add a zip-tie and bam! An all-star line-up was born for sneakerheads all around the world. The part two of that series to complete the ten were: Nike Zoom Fly SP, Converse Chuck Taylor, Nike Air Max 97, Nike Air Force 1 Low, and Nike React Hyperdunk 2017.
He explained his vision for these top price point, iconic kicks styles to Nike back in 2017 as, “in one gesture, I wanted to underscore how the design system and manufacturing of Nike are so perfect.” Abloh continued, “by combining these shoes with design that amplifies their ‘handmade’ quality, we’re intensifying the human element and expanding the emotional connection of these 10 icons.”
Having such enormous success in shifting sneaker culture with those monumental designs, Abloh’s star shined even more from behind the shadows of his close friend, style mentor and former business partner Kanye West. Soon Abloh’s OFF-WHITE clothing/accessories brand was doing even more high-end collabs that lead to a history making creative director position at the famed house of Louis Vuitton (view his LV Fall-Winter 2021 show here)
All of that leads us to the times of today, where Abloh is so entrenched in pop culture, his every move on social media or new world offering is met with fanfare and long lines (both physical and digital) for his lettered productions and acquired taste creations. The one constant though is Abloh’s dedication to detail and the full package of explaining his process with heart and passion. Thus, ICONS being the perfect book to learn the tactics and thoughts of a true creative.
“The foundation of my practice isn’t nearly the end result — it’s rigor and process of the logic. The archive is the paper trail of those artifacts,” says Abloh. “The ICONS book is, in a way, the only revealing lens to understand that the catalog of the 50-plus Nike shoes I have designed are in my mind ‘one shoe.’ One story.”
Abloh isn’t the only mastermind behind ICONS. You’ll find words and descriptions by designers, historians and writers like Hiroshi Fujiwara, Glenn Adamson and Troy Patterson, respectively. There is also art direction by Zak Group which rounds out the visual connection to the words and wizardry of what Abloh has launched in our inspiration sphere. The ICONS tome will be available on January 22nd on the Nike SNKRS app and on Feb. 5th you’ll be able to cop it from Off-White, Canary Yellow and the TASCHEN.com websites.