Virgil Abloh

LEADING THE WAY: As part of his ongoing efforts to help upcoming generations, Virgil Abloh has launched a new mentorship series, “Free Game.”

The initiative is in response to the ongoing injustices posed against the Black community, as well as the inequalities in opportunities available to them, especially in the careers where Abloh has personally excelled.

The Off-White founder and chief creative director said in a statement, “As part of my longstanding initiative to see design, art and culture more inclusive to young Black designers and those coming from nontraditional backgrounds, I wanted to assist in providing the means for them to advance on the road to ownership of their ideas and brands.”

With brand building a priority for many, Free Game participants will receive mentoring and a step-by-step guide to building a brand, based on Abloh’s personal experience and how he established himself in the creative world. He described it as “the exact notions and tools that I used to formulate my career.”

The just-launched platform on the designer’s site is meant to help entrepreneurs start their brands from the very beginning. There is no charge for the information. In addition to advice from Abloh, who is also Louis Vuitton’s men’s artistic director, users of his own site will have access to insights from some of his successful artist and creative friends. A how-to section, online lectures and other learning tools are all part of the plan.

Unlike some of the mentoring opportunities that have been introduced in recent months that require applications, Free Game offers access to all and it will be continually updated.

The platform’s objective is not to help fast track a few individuals but to continue to open doors “for those that come from the fringe and help them be awarded opportunities usually left for the center. Ultimately ensuring that the future looks different from the past,” according to press materials provided for the launch.

Free Game is in the same spirit of Abloh’s “Post Modern” Scholarship Fund. Launched earlier this year, the fund was set up to provide Black students an education in fashion via fund-raising and mentorship in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Foundation.

In other Abloh-related news, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston will unveil “Virgil Abloh: ‘Figures of Speech’” on July 1 for a three-month run. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where it was first held from June to September 2019, the exhibition explores Abloh’s multidisciplinary career highlights and will be staged in an immersive space designed by Rem Koolhaas’ AMO, the research and design studio of his OMA architectural firm.

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