In mid-January, rumors surfaced that Virgil Abloh‘s next Off-White project with NIKE, Inc. would be titled “The Twenty,” a follow-up to the game-changing, 10-piece footwear collection that launched in 2017. Since then, Abloh has been linked to various ventures, most recently a collaboration with Braun, but sneaker enthusiasts have eagerly been awaiting more news about his next batch of Swoosh and Jumpman-branded products. Reputable sources have begun revealing mock-ups and in-hand looks at forthcoming Nike Dunk Low pairs reportedly part of Abloh’s next big project: “The Fifty”.
Widely credited as a driving force behind the Dunk‘s mainstream resurgence in the last three years, the Off-White frontman has teased samples of unreleased colorways before. Yet, he took to social media to suggest that recent reports of “The Twenty” being 20 takes on the low-top sneaker were inaccurate, commenting, “i couldn’t pick this many bad colorways if i tried” on @py_rates_‘ teaser image. While Abloh’s statement is up for interpretation, in-hand images of “XX OF 50”-stamped Dunks have surfaced, which have raised some questions.
Are “The Twenty” and “The Fifty” two separate projects, or the same one, simply mis-titled? Does Abloh think too-highly of his color selection? If his next big collaboration with NIKE, Inc. does indeed include 50 styles of the Dunk Low, is Abloh no longer hiding behind quotation marks, instead unabashedly leaning into criticism he’s received all throughout his public design career about being “lazy” and “unoriginal”?
While style and preference is subjective, the latest news regarding Abloh’s next collection with the North American sportswear giant leaves much to be desired. The 50-colorway-collection isn’t an issue (although we’ve seen these types of projects from other creatives) as much as the suspicion that the Louis Vuitton designer is rehashing yesterday’s designs. Collecting all 50 Off-White Dunks will surely be many enthusiasts’ life’s work whenever, if ever, “The Fifty” launches, but that hunt might be worth more if consumers were being treated to something new (maybe an assortment of Air Max options).
In due time, Abloh will reveal his hand, but the numbered Dunks in tonal color schemes that’ve emerged over the last week aren’t “it”.
Elsewhere under the NIKE, Inc. umbrella, the Air Jordan 1 “Hyper Royal” arrives on April 17th.