Virgil Abloh is Coachella's Unsurprising Surprise

Virgil Abloh is Coachella's Unsurprising Surprise

The Off-White and Louis Vuitton honcho has a long history at the turntables.

The Off-White and Louis Vuitton honcho has a long history at the turntables.

Text: Julian Wright

Virgil Abloh is not a name most would expect to appear on a Coachella line up. Abloh is most well known for his contributions to fashion through his artistic directorship at Louis Vuitton Menswear and his self-started fashion house, Off-White. His signature streetwear aesthetics are Abloh’s bread-and-butter and the fashion world has seen massive transformation due to his influence. He’s taken the industry by force, rising from a small brand to an internationally recognized name in just 6 short years, but the collective conscience is relatively unaware of Abloh’s activities, pre-mainstream fame. Turns out, he spent a lot of time DJing.

A clear connection to music production can be traced back to his days just after college. Legend has it that he skipped his final critique on graduation day to take a meeting with Kanye West’s then-manager. This would spark a lasting relationship between Abloh and West as collaborators. They would eventually venture towards a fashion internship at Fendi in 2009 and later, musical endeavors. Before launching Off-White, Abloh served as the art director for West and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne, a project that would earn him a Grammy nomination. At first, Abloh entered the music scene as a joke under the name Flat White, continuing with his brand of ironic, incendiary creative output. But what was once a silly foray into making music turned into legitimately captivating tunes, earning him sets at Boiler Room and Art Basel’s Rakastella. Abloh took a break from DJing to dedicate himself to his fashion prospects, but he’s returned to show off his skills.

Listening to his sets, one can understand why Abloh has amassed a following from his productions. His sets, usually an hour in length, infuse elements of deep house and U.K. grime into a seamless body of work. At the center of his sets are popular hip-hop/rap tracks, a potential nod to the music one would expect his Off-White clientele enjoys. In his most recent release, an EP with Boys Noize titled “Orvnge”, Abloh leans more into techno, producing long, trance-like tracks with plucky electronic beats. He already played at Lollapalooza late last year, but Saturday marks his Coachella debut, an exciting occasion for everyone involved. Virgil Abloh’s set is one to look forward, regardless of the sound he chooses to exhibit.

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