An auction of 200 pairs of the Louis Vuitton and Nike Air Force 1 sneakers designed by the late Virgil Abloh has fetched a total of $25.3m, according to Sotheby’s. This is more than eight times the initial $3 million estimate, the auction house said Wednesday.
The size US 5 pair of the Louis Vuitton and Nike Air Force 1 sneaker reached the price of $352,800, making it the most expensive pair to have sold.
All in all, the sneakers, which ranged in size from five to 18, averaged more than $100,000 per shoe, according to AFP, adding that the cheapest sold for just over $75,000.
According to Sotheby’s, the auction marked the first time the sneakers were released for sale. A spokesperson told CNN that, as a collection, the sneakers had secured “a record auction total” for fashion.
The special edition shoes were originally made for Louis Vuitton’s 2022 spring-summer men’s collection. Abloh was the artistic director.
The proceeds realized from the sale of the sneakers will be donated to the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund. Abloh established the scholarship fund in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund to “support the education of academically promising students of Black, African American, or African descent.”
The Ghanaian-American fashion icon died in November at the age of 41. Abloh, who was Louis Vuitton’s first Black artistic director, passed away after a battle with cancer.
Since March 2018, the name Abloh has been keenly followed in the fashion industry. The Ghanaian American became the center of attention when he was named Louis Vuitton’s new artistic director and gave big fashion labels a run for their money with the release of Off-White, the streetwear and luxury fashion label that brought an edgy twist into the fashion game.
Abloh was born on September 30, 1980, in Rockford, Illinois to Ghanaian immigrant parents Nee and Eunice Abloh. He completed his high school diploma at Boylan Catholic High School and went for his post-secondary studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 2002.
Abloh was studying for a Master of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology when he fell in love with fashion. His mom, who was a seamstress, taught him the basics of clothing design. And thanks to that, alongside the design concepts he studied at school and the street culture of Chicago, Abloh entered the fashion world. He started by first designing t-shirts while being a contributor to a popular streetwear blog known as The Brilliance, where he would sometimes criticize top-notch brands for the poor materials they used.
Before earning acclaim as the founder of Off-White, Abloh launched a company named Pyrex Vision in 2012. Pyrex Vision, which was his first company, took deadstock from high-end designers and transformed them into a new brand. Even though the company did amazingly well and helped establish Abloh’s name in the fashion industry, Abloh shut it down after only one year, saying that it was “a side project and an artistic experiment.”
Then came Off-White, which he founded in Milan in 2012. Worn by celebrities including Beyonce, Rihanna, Travis Scott, and Kylie Jenner, it was with Off-White that he became hugely successful. With 49 stores across the globe, Off-White blends high fashion and streetwear and has been described as one of the most influential contemporary fashion labels in recent years.
The label has worked with prominent brands such as Nike, helping to redesign several of Nike’s most popular sneakers. Abloh would create a unique kit for tennis star Serena Williams and collaborate with Canadian retailer SSENSE to create a high-end collection of training and workout clothes. Abloh has also designed furniture for Ikea and worked on contemporary art with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.