Virgil Abloh shoes as high as $3,000 at auction after designer’s death

Just days after the suicide of Off-White designer Virgil Abloh, several streetwear boutiques are engaging in extensive bidding wars for the talents of his designs, with a pair of his shoe designs selling as high as $3,000 on Ebay last week.

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Abloh’s death on Friday caused a market spike as enthusiasts competed for his exclusive designs. Early in the week, sneakers that were reportedly worn by the designer during the SS19 shows at New York’s Pitti Uomo sold for as high as $1,900 on the luxury retailer Moda Operandi.

An Abloh-inspired white Nike Air Force 1 pair were recently listed for auction for $1,400 on Ebay. At one point on Tuesday, the sneakers auctioned for more than $2,200. The sneakers were later removed from Ebay, but not before being featured on a Kanye West song. The single never appears on the new album Ye, out last week, but has been released on YouTube and streaming apps.

Other designers have also drawn fierce competition for the designer’s work. Abloh also designed a pair of athletic shoes for DJ Khaled. A pair of the shoes sold for more than $1,400 on Ebay on Tuesday, and went back on sale on Thursday for $2,400. Other images of the sneakers circulated on Instagram.

Another pair of shoes designed by the designer for DJ Khaled sold for more than $1,000 on Friday. Photograph: YouTube/Getty Images

Earlier this week, French designer Haider Ackermann unveiled a collection of custom sneakers commissioned in Abloh’s memory. Around $5,000 worth of sneakers, made from children’s shoes from Perspex to PVC, sold on the luxury retailer Loewe’s e-commerce site. An extra sketch by the designer inspired the lineup of kicks.

A high-profile price spike by a major streetwear designer comes at a time when the majority of streetwear brands are experiencing increased sales. This, of course, is not a coincidence: the industry has been releasing products like sneakers and hats under pressure from the US government, which recently tightened import restrictions on immigrant craftsmen. The regulations have reportedly forced shoe and apparel brands to rely on imported pieces at a higher cost.

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Agloh, who is the highest-profile native African American designer in the streetwear and indie fashion worlds, was also known for placing big bets on his ideas to take on his industry. His hard line on branding was explained by the intellectual property company Stroz Friedberg, which took over the off-the-book Off-White label in 2016. Abloh retained his managerial and creative direction, but forwent a share of the profits. Abloh had plans to expand the brand, introducing a wider range of merchandise, with specialised apparel to be created by unknown independent vendors.

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