MCA × Virgil Abloh Design Challenge

Virgil Abloh at work. Photo: Hanna García Fleer.

Design Challenge Description

The MCA and Virgil Abloh are teaming up to host a design challenge to highlight the creative vision of Chicago youth 14-21.

Please note that if you are under 18 you will need to get your parent’s permission to participate and register your Instagram account.

Starting on June 10, submit a creative response on Instagram to this challenge:

Take something boring or broken and turn it into something extraordinary.

Show what you started with. Show off your remake. Your submission can take any 2D or 3D form—drawings, fashion, objects, or architectural renderings. This is about ideas, not flashy finish.

Design Challenge Rules

Submission requirements:

If you’re under 18 years old, you must get permission from your parent/guardian before participating and register your account—see the form on this page.

To enter the Design Challenge, post a short video (less than 1 minute) with a caption to your Instagram feed. Your post must contain these elements to be eligible:

A short video (less than 1 minute long) including:

  • A short introduction of yourself including age and where you live.
  • A description of what inspired you—what’s boring or broken.
  • Images of what you’ve created in response to the Design Challenge prompt

A caption

  • Describing your design and how it answers the prompt. Must be less than 2,200 characters.
  • Including #MCADesignChallenge #Contest and @mcachicago @virgilabloh

Submit your design as a video post on Instagram.

Submissions will be judged on:

  • INSPIRATION: What do you care about?
    The world around us is full of problems to be solved and challenges to be met. When you choose a boring or broken thing, think about how it is connected to bigger ideas and systems that impact people’s lives. Extraordinary submissions will start by observing and responding creatively to an idea, need, or situation in the world.

  • PERSONAL CONNECTION: Why do you care?
    Your experience matters. How is your design connected to your personal experience? Wherever you come from, whoever you are, sharing your quirks and making yourself visible or vulnerable will make your art even more extraordinary.

  • INNOVATION: What was your process?
    Through practice and study, artists and designers come up with signature strategies for solving problems and making things their own. What steps did you take to transform your boring or broken thing? How can we see your design signature in your submission?

  • IMPACT: Why does your design need to exist now?
    Extraordinary art or design doesn’t just create something new in the world; it makes something that answers a real need. How does your extraordinary thing answer a need in the world? How could it make someone else’s life better?


Up to five winners will receive the following:

  • A “Meet and Greet” with Virgil Abloh and the other Winners.
  • A video produced by Instagram profiling the Winner and their winning Entry, which will be shown at the MCA.
  • A copy of the Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” catalogue signed by Virgil Abloh.
  • Two (2) Virgil Abloh artist collaboration t-shirts.
  • A “Figures of Speech” hoodie.
  • A Household Membership for one year to MCA that includes a tote bag designed by Virgil Abloh.

Please see the Official Rules for all terms and conditions regarding prizes.


  • Live in the Chicagoland area (counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will, along with Lake County in Indiana.)
  • Be between fourteen (14) and twenty-one (21) years of age at the time of entry. Are you under 18? Get permission from a parent or legal guardian before posting your entry—permission is required for anyone under 18 years old.


Submissions will be judged by MCA Chicago staff, Instagram staff and executives, and a panel of Chicago art and design professionals.

Design Challenge FAQs

MCA x Virgil Abloh Design Challenge Competition Official Rules


Lead Community Engagement Partner is Northern Trust.

Lead Education Partner is The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation.

Lead individual support is provided by Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel as well as Laura K. Martin.

Major support is provided by Instagram.

Generous support is provided Ashley Hemphill Netzky and Pamela Netzky, as well as D. Elizabeth Price.

Generous in-kind support is provided by LRNG.