In a profile in the new issue of The New Yorker, Virgil Abloh responded to accusations of plagiarism leveled by fashion industry scrutineers Diet Prada. He also addressed the issue of crafting a Michael Jackson-inspired collection for Louis Vuitton, which debuted just before HBO broadcast its allegation-laden Leaving Neverland documentary about the controversial pop icon.
In the profile, which branded Abloh “Menswear’s Biggest Star,” the designer was asked if he had heard anything about the HBO documentary, to which he replied that he hadn’t and only wanted to focus on “the Michael that I thought was universally accepted, the good side, his humanitarian self.”
Instagram provocateurs and Diet Prada founders Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler have taken aim at Abloh on several occasions, most recently after OFF-WHITE’s FW19 show in Paris. Diet Prada posted a series side-by-side of images from the collection, comparing it to existing garments by emerging labels.
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Another men’s fashion week, another @off____white collection with cherry picked references from indie streetwear labels? This time, the designs in question are a yellow graffitied ensemble from Cologne-based @colrsbaby by @punkzec , who showed his AW18 collection at @arisefashionweek in Lagos in April 2018, and a graphic from Manchester label @gramm . It could be a coincidence, but Virgil has been known to swipe designs from the fans he meets, some of who happen to be young creatives themselves. Interestingly enough, @punkzec met Virgil prior to one of his presentations in Paris in 2017. Think they talked design? • #colrsbaby #punkzec #arisefashionweek #lagos #streetwear #graffiti #hypebeast #hype #virgilabloh #offwhite #streetstyle #wiwt #ootd #gramm #hoodie #sweatshirt #manchester #cologne #snobshots #dietprada
In The New Yorker, Abloh responded to Diet Prada’s accusations by exclaiming, “Ring the alarm!” According to Abloh, the similarity is “basically the use of a yellow fabric with a pattern on it” and not a credible example of plagiarism.
Speaking about the Diet Prada project itself, Abloh said, “All props to them, that’s a great concept,” adding that coincidences can happen in design, something he believes Diet Prada don’t take into account.