A selection of eight pairs of Nike sneakers designed by the late Virgil Abloh in collaboration with graffiti artist Futura will be offered at Sotheby’s in New York, with proceeds benefiting the Virgil Abloh Foundation.
The online auction, running from April 5-14, is without reserve, meaning the opening bid for each lot is just US$1. Each pair of the shoes is expected to sell for between US$2,000 and US$4,000.
The auction will also be the first release of the Nike Dunk Low sneakers, which made their debut at the spring/summer 2020 fashion show in Paris, according to Sotheby’s.
These sneakers were very special to Abloh, “not only for their role as an anchor piece of the SS20 collection, but as a symbol of collaboration and creativity, two principles he always prioritized,” his widow, Shannon Abloh, said in a statement.
Abloh died in November 2021 at the age of 41. A trained architect, he founded the fashion brand Off-White in 2012 and later became the first African-American artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection.
Futura, or Leonard Hilton McGurr, is a New York-based graffiti artist who has collaborated with many fashion brands including Nike, Supreme, Levi’s, and A Bathing Ape, as well as carmaker BMW, cognac producer Hennessy, the New York Mets baseball team, among others.
The two collaborated in designing the sneakers with a small team to prevent any possibilities of leaks. The shoes were also to be distributed to their friends in art and design circles. Each pair was to be a personalized one-of-one gift and never made for commercial release, according to Sotheby’s.
“It’s amazing to finally see the ‘Virgil Abloh x Futura Laboratories’ arriving in this fashion,” Futura said in a statement. “I hope to honor my friendship with Virgil and our creative collaborative work.”
The shoes will be on public view at Sotheby’s New York from April 5-13 before the online auction closes the next day.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Virgil Abloh Foundation, which provides scholarships to Black students in the fashion industry.