The first African-American artistic director of LMVH menswear, creator of a generation-defining sneaker collection and a marketing pioneer, Virgil Abloh saw a speedy descent from unknown creative to luxury fashion royalty before his passing in 2021. His life’s work has left an immovable mark on the modern fashion industry, the most notable of which was his debut collaboration with Nike labelled “The Ten”. A capsule that celebrated ten of Nike’s most legendary silhouettes, the collection of sneakers included a reimagined Air Jordan 1 Chicago (which now sells for up to £24,000), alongside an Air Force 1, Air Max 90 and more. Since this release, the Off-White x Nike partnership has produced some of the modern sneaker industry’s most illustrious designs.

On what would have been Abloh’s 42nd birthday, we’re looking back at some of the designer’s most iconic pieces.

Off-White x Air Jordan 1 Chicago

The sneaker that kick-started a movement, the Off-White x Air Jordan 1 Chicago was one of the first designs from “The Ten” used  to tease the upcoming collection in 2017. Crafted with detailing that’s synonymous with Abloh’s quirky style, the leather upper sports a panelled, deconstructed aesthetic that’s enhanced with “AIR”, “SHOELACES” and “JUMPMAN” lettering. Finished with colourful stitching, a plastic tag and inside-out tongue, this fresh take on the Air Jordan 1 nods to the Chicago-born designer’s penchant for taking things apart and reconstructing them in his own unique way. 

Off-White x Air Jordan 4 Sail 

First seen in Paris and Chicago, the Off-White x Air Jordan 4 Sail was the first AJ4 to receive Abloh’s deconstructed treatment. More pared-back than previous Off-White x Nike designs, this neutral Jordan 4 is subtly elevated with tonal Off-White hardware, black lettering under the mesh side panel and “AIR” emblazoned on the midsole. One of the first Off-White x Nike sneakers to opt for a tonal tag rather than the brand’s signature orange, this AJ4 is a lesson in modern refinement. 

Off-White x Nike Dunk “Dear Summer” AKA “The 50” 

His final extensive collection for Nike before his passing, Virgil Abloh’s Off-White x Nike “The 50” collection takes the iconic Nike Dunk and reimagines it with colourful cables, stitching and hardware. All but two don a Grey Fog colour scheme and all arrive in either smooth leather or plush suede. Specifically crafted to bring Off-White’s Nike partnership to the masses, this collection remains one of the duo’s most affordable sneakers on the resell market. 

Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 Black 

Landing in 2018, the Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 Black updates the 1982 hoops shoe with ripstop fabric, OG Nike branding and supple suede panelling for a touch of luxury. Delivering the instantly recognisable Abloh treatment, the midsole is decorated with “AIR” lettering, while extra details include an orange tag, patterned shoelaces and a unique code on the heel.