Pre-owned Off-White Long Sleeve Tee, 100% cotton made in Portugal, Off White Tee, By Virgil Abloh.
Art is important in streetwear. In a game that’s focused on graphic T-shirts, how a brand uses art and graphics can help or hurt its longevity. Vintage Polo Sportsman pieces that directly referenced images from 1940s outdoor magazines are some of Ralph Lauren's most sought after pieces. Supreme has been able to expand its audience beyond skateboarders by releasing collaborations with hyped contemporary artists like Damien Hirst and hardcore graffiti bombers like JA One.
Art collaborations are difficult to master, but Virgil Abloh has been able to execute collaborations in a meaningful way. Art is not simply used to boost his brand’s aesthetic. It’s being used to tell a story. Since Virgil Abloh first launched Off-White in 2013, he’s referenced artists ranging from 17th century Baroque painters to 1970s subway graffiti writers. Although Abloh is not the first to work with some of these artists, he undeniably has an eye for what will translate on a garment and what people will want to buy. This Caravaggio piece is one of Off-White’s best art references/collaborations, in our humble opinion.
The Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is Off-White’s most referenced artist. Carravagio’s late 16th and early 17th century paintings—such as the Madonna of the Rosary, The Entombment of Christ, Annunciation, Narcissus, Saint Jerome Writing, and The Seven Works of Mercy—have all been printed on Pyrex Vision and Off-White garments. Recent releases, such as the “Hardcore Caravaggio” pieces, even feature a condensed biography of the artist’s life. Caravaggio was known as a controversial painter because of his painting’s gritty realism and his life as a criminal. Caravaggio sourced his models from the streets and painted them realistically, down to their dirty fingernails. Despite being commissioned to paint for churches and aristocrats, Caravaggio was arrested numerous times and eventually died while he was on the run from killing a man over a tennis match.