The fashion world lost an icon on November 28th. At the young age of 41, he passed away with cancer, which he had been privately battling while forging new territory in the fashion industry. Abloh has had a massive impact on the fashion world and has left a mark forever on the hearts of many in the industry.
In the 160 years that Louis Vuitton has operated, Abloh was the first black creative director. This breakthrough showcases not only his abilities in a fashion manner, but shows the capacity for change he was bringing to the table. He was able to bring aspects of black culture to runways, specifically in luxury fashion in a way that was never seen before. He is an icon in streetwear, and it is very hard to have a conversation about streetwear without dropping his name. Not only is he an admired being himself, but he continues to inspire new black creators who follow in his footsteps in creating a name for themselves.
If you are not yet familiar with Virgil Abloh, it’s likely you’ll recognize some of his work:
2010: Named Creative Director of Donda
Abloh met musician Kanye West while earning his college degree. In 2009, they joined the same class of interns at Fendi, and a year later West named Abloh the artistic director of his creative agency, Donda. Abloh created some album covers, marketing campaigns, and set designs for West’s womenswear runway.
2013: Launched Off-White
His signature label was launched in 2013. At the intersection of the hypebeast culture and the luxury industry, it blended streetwear with high fashion in new ways.
2018: Appointed Artistic Director of Menswear at Louis Vuitton
In 2018, Abloh was appointed to the artistic director at Louis Vuitton, meaning he was the first Black designer to helm a major luxury brand. His polychromatic collection was famously shown on a rainbow runway at the Palais-Royale gardens during Paris fashion week.
2020: Raises $1 Million to Support Black Students
In late 2020, Abloh announced that he raised $1 million through the recently minted Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund, in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF), which will provide scholarships to Black people who aspire to work in the fashion industry.
He didn’t suggest that navigating the fashion system was simple. He never made his success look easy. But he made it clear that doing both was humanly possible. We encourage you to take a look at his work and hope he is in a better place.