Architects set the stage for the fashion world to chat about a moment in history: the inauguration of President Donald Trump. As architect Ian McNeil Parker explained it, the inauguration represented the loss of civic norms. One institution lost its norms. One gallery dedicated to exploring that loss on its website, Building Off-White, shares how designer Virgil Abloh’s ties to the community of Never Never Land, capital-N Fashion, inspired the building’s intentions.
Abloh might’ve created the most well-known brand in the off-white, short-sleeve trend sweeping the fashion industry, but Off-White also has two flagships in DC, one on H Street Northeast, and the other on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. Off-White appears to be another example of the creative industry picking up on local interest and taking advantage of the city’s unique strengths in attracting foreign investment.
But that’s not all. Near the Back Room, the DC Off-White flagship store, today, supporters began setting up an altar, a memorial to Virgil Abloh, wearing Off-White. Inside, physical decorations resemble a religious altar, with wine on a table, a marble-topped table, statuary on the side of the room, and a statue of Buddha. Candles flow from the candles at the center of the table. Because one can’t do the gift-giving there, the shop’s volunteers passed out cards filled with certificates to DC pubs. Posters can be seen everywhere, including in the private room, across from where Abloh’s archival drawings, some from Off-White, are displayed.
Off-White’s store started the day at what was once Bar Pilar, the gay bar that was threatened by redevelopment and closed in 2015. The DC Off-White store was created by Abloh, who purchased the building. Most of the space was once a meat-packing facility. As a similar reference, there are red lines down the center of the room. A projector is projecting footage from Trump’s first inauguration onto the wall behind Abloh. Many people are watching him on the projection and in front of the store.
Photos by Rafael de la Mora.