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Virgil Abloh Left Behind A Manual That Teaches You How to Start a Brand From Scratch

by Charlie Zhang

The world of fashion has always been a very exclusive one. Not just for the fact that you had to be wealthy to afford custom-made garments and designer shoes, but also because fashion education is expensive and only certain people can afford it. The social circles within fashion are also very small and difficult to get in. Far more than any other industry, fashion is inherently exclusive. But Virgil Abloh defied all of those barriers.

As a Chicago-born Black American middle class, Virgil reached heights no one could’ve imagined. Before his 40s the designer was already the first-ever Black American Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton and the Founder of global streetwear phenomenon Off-White.

At 41, however, Abloh tragically lost his battle with cancer. But In his final days, Abloh created a step-by-step manual called “FREE GAME” that teaches you how to start a brand from scratch. Abloh put up the manual on a website that anyone could have access to. He wanted to democratize fashion and in his own words wanted the manual to be a "resource center for brands in their earliest phases." 

A Place To Serve The Many 🌍

“FREE GAME” was created as he was working to summarize answers to all his most frequently asked questions. “The goal of this resource is to uplift more than a few,” reads the website. “It will continue to open doors for those that come from the fringe and help them be awarded opportunities usually left for the center.”

What’s In The Manual? 🧐

Abloh’s step-by-step manual starts with a short video of Abloh speaking into the camera and talking about his mission to give back to the community and to educate as many people as possible. 

After this, viewers may scroll to Step 1, where it teaches you “how to name your brand.” Step 2 teaches how to “Trademark your brand,” followed by Step 3 “How to use adobe creative suite.” The manual includes 12 steps in total and has been set up with notes from the designer himself.

Virgil’s Philanthropic Efforts 🙏

Virgil created “FREE GAME” as an introduction and an attempt to provide a mass form of mentorship to give information and access to black POC and to all those that are interested. “Giving all the ability to consider a step-by-step guide to building their brand based on my past experience,” says the website.

“FREE GAME” is part of the Virgil Abloh™ “community service” and “post-modern” mentoring initiative programs that the designer started to help young creative entrepreneurs. 

This continued commitment is supported by the “Post-Modern” Scholarship foundation, with its mission statement being to supply black students an education in fashion via fundraising and mentorship in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Foundation.

Quote 🔥

“For me, the brand or entity name has been the most important part of my logic. Your brand name should be an endless reference point to why your brand exists.”

— Virgil Abloh, Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton

Takeaways ✍️

🌍In his final days, Virgil Abloh created a free brand-building manual on a website that anyone can use to start their brand

🔥“FREE GAME” goes through a total of 12 detailed steps in setting up your brand

🤝This project is part of Virgil Abloh’s “community service” and “post-modern” mentoring initiative programs 

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