Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton’s men’s technical director and CEO of Off-White, has died at the age of 41. In a statement issued this evening, November 28, 2021, LVMH, Louis Vuitton and Off-White announced that Abloh had died from cancer, which she had fought secretly for several years.
Known as a multicultural, diverse and boundary-breaking personality, Abloh is known for crossing a range of creative fields that include fashion, art, design, and music. Born in 1980, in Rockford, Illinois, to Ghanaian immigrant parents, he holds degrees in civil engineering and architecture, two fields that have propelled him from project to project — best known for orchestrating digital magic largely via WhatsApp — including collaborations with Harvard Graduate Design School, IKEA, Nike, Takashi Murakami, Carpenters’ Workshop Showroom and Mercedes-Benz.
Abloh first dipped his toe into the fashion industry in 2009, when he was an apprentice at Roman House Fendi, alongside Kanye West. His time spurred collaborations with the rapper, who appointed Abloh the creative director of his creative agency, Donda. In 2012, Abloh launched his first fashion label, Pyrex Vision, a take-off-inspired brand that drew on his democratic approach to design, screen-printing recycled pieces from famous labels including Ralph Lauren. “When I am presented with a design project, the first thing I relate to is context,” Abloh told Wallpaper* in June 2019.
To bridge the gap between luxury streetwear, Abloh launched Off-White, also in 2012, a men’s and women’s clothing label known for its semiotic-driven approach to design, using spacers and star as embellishments. In 2017, The Ten saw ten iconic Nike silhouettes reinterpreted, including the Air Jordan 1, Nike Air VaporMax, Nike Force 1 Low and Converse Chuck Taylor, reinterpreted using decals, lettering, and satirical stickers such as plastic tags and ties Compressed neck, distinctive rough sculpted finish. The shoes sold out in minutes upon launch, and Nike’s SNKRS app was disrupted by unprecedented traffic.
In 2018, Abloh was appointed artistic director for men at Louis Vuitton – one of the few black designers to lead a luxury French fashion house. The appointment marks a defining moment for POC’s representation in the fashion industry. Its premiere of the house, which took place outdoors in the Palais-Royal Gardens in Paris, featured models walking down a rainbow runway.
Abloh does not refer to himself as a designer, but rather refers to the “Image Maker” – Harvard Graduate School of Design and Sternberg’s published book, Enter a complex title here, a series of his “cheat codes” for work and design. These include the “signs of ‘work in progress'” – working without a perfectionist mindset; working according to a ‘community comment’; and ‘interrogating your mentors’.
In 2019, the exhibition Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech opened at MCA Chicago, to celebrate Abloh’s professional productions to date, projects spanning from DJs to fine jewelry design, an Ikea and Nike collaboration. Designed by OMA, long-term collaborators with Abloh, the exhibition opened with a new edition in November 2021 at the Fire Station in Doha. An influential division, Black Gaze, analyzes Abloh’s role in challenging the fashion and design industry’s longstanding exclusion of black talent, and its ability to provide other people of color with a global platform.
Virgil Abloh wallpaper *
Last year, Wallpaper* invited Abloh to take over the limited-edition subscriber cover for her style-ready September 2020 issue. In the most unique addition yet to the wallpaper’s limited-edition cover series — simple, tactile, and radical — Abloh invited the reader to cut the magazine in half with a scissors drawing. . The aim of this act was to project the magazine as an object. As an added element of the cover acquisition, Abloh personally cut and signed 184 copies of the magazine, naming this 2 for 1. Cut on August 25, 2020, at the headquarters of Oetee’s regular Abloh collaborators, the issues were available for purchase (Fashion Scholarship Project Funding) at canary—yellow.com, an open access website dedicated to his amazing production of workpieces.
Virgil transcends culture and breaks boundaries. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with – a creative force – who is committed, intelligent, connected, collaborative and warm. We’ve lost a really positive mind, and his influence and legacy will live on.”
Humble, gentle, and kind, Abloh was known for supporting others, championing a new diversification of industries associated with elitism and inspiring a new generation of creators. His support and mentorship were garnered by a host of burgeoning talented names, including Samuel Ross and Heron Preston. In August 2020, the Fashion Scholarship Fund launchedpostmodern, It is dedicated to promoting equality and inclusion in the fashion industry by offering scholarships to promising black, African American, and African students. The scholarships are administered in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF), an American non-profit association that supports the future of fashion. They also include the “Free Game” guide series, a website with free how-to guides, that anyone can access.
Abloh told Wallpaper* in September 2020: “It is important that the door is left open to children just like me. The future of fashion, the future of design, the future of management and all these jobs are a matter of urgency. It is imperative that people like myself include in their work an element to advance this effort. It has survived. His wife and children.§