Virgil Abloh, founder of OFF-WHITE, and Nike have collaborated once again on a new collection that draws inspiration from the world’s most popular sport, football (soccer).
For Abloh, football is an opportunity to blend memories of his youth — playing hip-hop tracks on the way to high school soccer matches, for instance — with his interests in mixing lifestyle and sport branding. It’s big and bold and full of nuanced visual cues. In a word, his collection is predicated on the visceral.
“The great thing about the vocabulary and history of football is that aesthetically it has its own look. I was always inspired by the way European teams have a sponsor printed over the chest. When I was working on this collection, I wanted to celebrate the different variants of typography,” says Abloh.
Additionally, all the numbers refer to those Abloh wore during his playing years. The jersey’s black-and-white checker board is a subtle nod to Czech strips. And the team’s logo, a lion juggling dots, pays homage to ubiquitous crests and the pattern of dots Abloh formed when thinking about how to explain, at the most basic level, the optimal place on the foot to strike a ball.
His shoe, a Flyknit Zoom Fly, is where the collection really begins, naturally, and ties back to Abloh’s rendition of the Mercurial. “I wanted to communicate where a player strikes the ball. So, I put dots on the boot; if you’re going to strike the ball, your foot/eye coordination is basically the only variance of chance. That’s what the collection started with, these running shoes that mimic the same as your actual boot on the pitch so that you started subconsciously training all the time. Then I just applied that aesthetic from the bottom up,” he explains.
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