In the world of fashion, design, and art, one name that has left a mark in a relatively short period is that of Virgil Abloh. A multidisciplinary creative genius, Abloh redefined contemporary design and fashion, creating a lasting legacy that continues to inspire students and creators alike.
The son of Ghanaian immigrant parents, Virgil was born in Illinois on 30th September 1980 and would go on to pursue a BSc in Civil Engineering followed by a Master's degree in Architecture.
The Birth of Off-White
Abloh interned at Fendi alongside Kanye West - this pivotal moment sparked a close relationship with West, with the two becoming lifelong friends and creative partners.
In 2012, Abloh launched his fashion brand Off-White, gaining immediate attention for its bold use of quotation marks and zip ties - both now-iconic elements of Abloh's designs.
Just 6 years after launching Off-White, Abloh made history when he was appointed artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear collection, becoming the first African-American artistic director for the prestigious fashion house.
This appointment signified a shift in the fashion industry, breaking down barriers and championing diversity, with Abloh bringing his distinctive streetwear-inspired style to Louis Vuitton. This helped create a bold and memorable collection that bridged the gap between high-end luxury fashion and street culture.
As well as his partnership with Kanye West, Abloh was able to collaborate with a range of artists and brands across a wide spectrum of industries. He collaborated with Nike to create The Ten collection as well as designing album covers for Kanye West and Jay-Z.
Legacy and Influence
Tragically Abloh's career was cut short in 2021 when he passed away from cancer at the age of 41. His work continues to inspire and shape the fashion industry, emphasising the importance of creativity, innovation, and above all, inclusivity. Abloh challenged the traditional norms of high fashion, making it much more accessible to the masses all while still maintaining a high-quality, high-fashion edge with a connection to popular culture. He used his platform for good, promoting diversity within the fashion industry and beyond.
In his short life, Virgil Abloh he showed the world that creativity knows no bounds and that innovation and inclusivity can reshape even the most established industries. Abloh's story serves as a reminder that with hard work, passion, and a willingness to break the mould, you can leave a lasting imprint on the world, just as he did in the world of fashion.
For more on our Celebrating Black History campaign, click here!