Style

LVMH is taking a majority stake in Virgil Abloh’s Off-White

Deepening its connection with the creative director of its most prominent brand.

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 05: Virgil Abloh is seen wearing tie and suit, white button shirt, sunglasses outside Louis Vuitton Parfum Hosts Dinner at Fondation Louis Vuitton on July 05, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images)
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LVMH is taking its relationship further with Virgil Abloh, as the conglomerate announced it’s agreed to acquire a 60-percent stake in Off-White. Abloh will retain the other 40 percent, while the Farfetch-owned New Guards Group will continue operation through an existing licensing deal set to last until at least 2026.

Abloh’s titles will remain the same: artistic director for Louis Vuitton’s menswear and creative director for the brand he founded in 2013. LVMH says it will also work with Abloh to launch new brands and partner with existing ones “beyond the realm of fashion.”

“For nearly a decade, we’ve been building Off-White to be a brand designed to empower our generation and challenge the status quo,” Abloh said in a press release. “LVMH brings to the table the additional firepower and scale to accelerate our momentum and evolve Off-White into a truly multi-line luxury brand.”

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What was the payday? — Financial terms were not announced for the deal, but New Guards Group was previously acquired by Farfetch for $675 million in 2019. The group’s roster of brands includes Palm Angels, Marcelo Burton County of Milan, Heron Preston, Ambush, and Opening Ceremony — but it only licenses the trademark for Off-White.

LVMH acquired its majority stake from Off-White LLC, the previous owner of Off-White’s trademark. Now, Off-White joins the standard cabal of conglomerates that presides over the majority of luxury fashion. LVMH, Kering, Richemont dominate the space — and the clearest path forward for success is to be acquired by one of them. Consolidation has become the norm in recent decades, with Chanel, Hermès, and Rolex remaining as the few top brands to remain independent.

Off-White, with Abloh’s origins in architecture instead of fashion, has indeed challenged the status quo in what the world’s top brands look like — but its acquisition shows that joining the rank-and-file conglomerates is still the best bet for the future.