Renowned Belgian designer and member of the Antwerp Six, Walter Van Beirendonck is calling out Virgil Abloh for what he sees as blatant imitation in the latter’s Louis Vuitton SS21 collection.
According to Van Beirendonck, a variety of elements from Louis Vuitton’s SS21 menswear presentation were ripped off from his own designs. Speaking to Belgian publication Knack Weekend, the designer decried Abloh’s runway show and practice of stealing designs. “Copying is nothing new. It’s part of fashion. But not like this. Not on that level, with their budgets, their teams, their possibilities. That’s what is shocking to me.”
“It’s very clear that Virgil Abloh is not a designer,” Van Beirendonck continued. “He has no language of his own, no vision. He can’t create something of his own season after season and that is painful. As for me, throughout all these years in fashion, I have patiently built up a signature language. That language is mine. It’s me. And he takes it, makes a copy of it. You can reinterpret things, do them in a different way. But this is just embarrassing. Meanwhile, Abloh gets a lot of money. He’s the one who cashes in.”
Alongside the Louis Vuitton SS21 clothing silhouettes and color palette, the Belgian designer pointed out Virgil’s plush “Zoooom With Friends” mascots stitched to various jackets and suits, noting the similarities between the tailoring debuted at Walter Van Beirendonck Fall/Winter 2016.
Walter Van Beirendonck also took to Instagram to blast Abloh. Posting a photo of a Peter Saville–copy sequin T-shirt from his Fall 2020 show. Van Beirendonck reiterated the message stitched on the T-shirt in his caption:
“I HATE COPYCATS.”