Sotheby’s is set to open a global online auction of the Futura Laboratories x Virgil Abloh x Nike Dunk Low at the beginning of April. A total of eight pairs and two different colorways will be available for bidding. The auction benefits the Virgil Abloh Foundation, a non-profit creative company that shares the practices, teachings, and legacy of the late designer.
The Virgil Abloh Foundation officially launches later this year and will help to continue on the ethos of previous philanthropic efforts such as the “POST-MODERN” Scholarship Fund. The upcoming initiative aims to increase access and opportunities for diverse youth interested in pursuing creative careers.
The Futura Laboratories x Virgil Abloh x Nike Dunk Low comes in two colorways, with one being a classic “UNC” iteration and the other being an Orange/Blue combo. The pairs first debuted in 2019 on the Paris runway for OFF-WHITE’s Spring/Summer 2020 fashion show.
Throughout the collection, the sneakers were styled with Virgil’s self-proclaimed post-modern garments with abstract ensembles of elevated street style. The show was held amongst a field of flowers and centered around a baby blue sculptural rendition of Futura’s otherworldly character: Pointman, a reoccurring figure in his artistic universe.
In addition to the Pointman, Futura also looked to his legacy as an NYC graffiti artist to inspire the collaborative Nike Dunk Low. The Orange/Blue colorway was inspired by his favorite team, the New York Mets, as well as the iconic Nike SB Dunk Low “Danny Supa,” which helped to launch the Nike SB line as we know it.
Virgil honored his own story with the “UNC” colorway, which of course is a nod to Michael Jordan, Virgil’s childhood hero. The “UNC” edition keeps Nike’s classic two-tone colorway intact with a “White” leather base and “Caroline Blue” overlays. The quarters are adorned with Futura’s contemporary graffiti designs, which are also reiterated on the aforementioned model.
Both pairs are secured with Virgil’s trademark bungee cords in Orange. Virgil and OFF-WHITE’s signature deconstructed elements make an appearance with the faux-manufacturer hangtag and ID stamp on the medial side. Futura Laboratories’ “FL” logo sits on the heel counter, which is a nod to Futura’s incredibly rare Nike Dunk High F&F “FLOM,” meaning “For the Love of Money,” which released in 2003. Each colorway is finished with an icy outsole and OFF-WHITE’s signature “SHOELACES.”
For Futura and Virgil, the sneakers represented more than an internet-breaking moment, but a means of disrupting sneaker culture and the cycles of hype that have come to overshadow the art. With this in mind, the shoes were developed with as minimal a team as possible as to foreclose any possibilities of leaks and were never intended for wide commercial release.
From the auction, 100% of the hammer price is being remitted to The Virgil Abloh Foundation, but the buyer’s premium and overhead premium will be retained by Sotheby’s. No portion of the purchase price is tax-deductible.
The Virgil Abloh Foundation has committed to donating half its proceeds to Futura’s choice of charities with profound community impact, with the Art for Justice Fund, the Boys & Girls Club of America, and the Innocence Project being the charities selected.
Sotheby’s auction for the Futura Laboratories x Virgil Abloh x Nike Dunk Low opens on April 5, 2023. The final day to bid will be April 13, 2023. Each sneaker is expected to sell for an upwards of $4,000 USD. For more info, visit Sothebys.com. You can take a look at all eight lots below.
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