Virgil Abloh, founder of fashion Brand Off-White and head mens designer for Louis Vuitton, was a prolific creator who taught me the importance of focusing on my craft instead of getting bogged down with perfectionism or the criticism of the outside world.
Here are 6 other lessons on creativity I’ve learned from him:
1. Don’t Box Yourself In
Virgil went to school for architecture, but he allows his thinking to transfer to other mediums.
Thus, it states “I like the idea of being creative without limits. For me, it’s about having an idea, a perspective, and then no matter the medium, expressing that… Art galleries, for example, are a place for setting up those ideas, not a manifestation of them. That’s what fashion is in my mind, too: a physical articulation of a concept, a series of thoughts, a critique, a point of view.”
2. No Idea is Original
Virgil takes his inspiration and makes them 3% to 5% different
“You also have to have mentors, dead or alive. You have to connect with a body of work or someone who formulated a thought and an aesthetic, and then build yours upon theirs.”
3. Take Inspiration From Your World—No One Is You Or Has Your Experience Which Makes You Unique
“My point of view as an artist is rooted in this insight I have into the world, as a human. Art and fashion are just places where a dialogue on reality should be captured and expressed, the means to an end.”
4. Learn From The Youth
Virgil often speaks highly of young creators and learns from them. The kids know what’s hot.
Likewise, “It’s the kids on Prince and Mercer” (referencing young people in Soho, NYC as his inspiration)
5. Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back—Start Your Domino Effect
Hence, it is notable to remember: “The only way to get to your end means is to start your “domino effect” , which means to put out bad work I for one am not a perfectionist and it’s such a gratifying concept. I want everyone who has ambition to find the domino effect! Create the project that is latent with intent and see what comes after that!”
6. Create Your Personal Design Language
Finally, in his talk at Harvard, Virgil encouraged students to create their own design language that would guide their work. He suggested identifying a through line between your previous work and considering things the younger you would get inspirations by (colors, concepts, patterns etc.)
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