words and images by adam

Any mention of Off-White and/or Virgil Abloh is a figurative siren for the hype fiends to come out in their droves. This is the effect of the hottest brand of the first quarter of 2019 as reported by Lyst (or what they call themselves, “fashion’s search engine”). Beating major fashion houses like Gucci, Balenciaga and even the biggest sportswear giant and collaborator Nike.

A chill May evening saw a snaking line outside Off-White Singapore. “A SESSION WITH VIRGIL” reads on Off-White Singapore’s Instagram post, posted just that morning. Virgil Abloh is in town. No new collection to drop. No limited edition Nikes to release. Just a “session” with the man himself. A panel discussion? One of Abloh’s infamous lectures? Either way, as usual, the fashion celebrity drew a crowd.

With every passing minute, the queueing crowd killed time by sizing up anyone who walked past, from the shoes up. Both envious and excited comments were whispered under breaths.

The sound of hurried footsteps stopped all the murmurs for a second. A pair of well-worn wheat Timberlands strode past and straight into the Off-White store. Gasps were taken as some realised who it was rocking the navy blue boiler suit stamped “Futura Laboratories”. Futura, who was in town preparing for her first Southeast Asian solo show, came to reunite with Abloh.

It was only 2 weeks ago that Virgil Abloh debuted his “Time Flies” DJ stage visual at Coachella that was designed by Futura. This sparked rumours of a Futura x Off-White collaboration that at this time of this article, has been confirmed with a collection that includes Nike Dunks.

A couple of hugs and photos later, Futura left as quickly as he came. It was time for the ‘session’ to begin.

“Can I have my Matcha tea latte?” – Abloh

Stepping into the store, a table draped with black cloth sits on a white sheet. Markers and spray cans aplenty. It was a signing session — a tag by Abloh on your Off-White x Nike sneakers or his Louis Vuitton leather goods does bring you more clout.

As the door opens, fans poured, rushed but orderly.

“Let’s have people around me,” Abloh told the staff who were desperately trying to keep fans in a line. The night slowly morphed into an organized chaos of fans airing through the crowd with any of Abloh’s artistic-directed pieces, desperate for an ‘artistic’ signature.

Accommodating to every request, Abloh sits in silence. Calmly signing, only to be excited by a couple of pieces. Documenting it on his trusted iPhone – an Off-White poster from a Paris show, the latest Louis Vuitton Keepall and an Off-White flag from the MCA. The crowd was definitely more aroused; ‘Oos and Ahhs’ filled the room especially when Abloh tagged a couple of tees with neon orange and green spray paint – one an Adidas tee, another, on an International School uniform.

After a two and a half-hour signing session, it was time for the man of the evening to take his leave. A private DJ party at Avenue awaited, just hours before he has to fly off to Bali for another gig. Hate him or love him, it is clear that Abloh is for the people, of what could have been an evening of well-deserved rest, he spent the evening drawing on thousand dollar valued sneakers and luxury goodies.

“Can I have his Matcha tea latte?” – a fan.