In today’s fashion world, few have dominated the level of widespread influence Virgil Abloh has gained since the 2012 launch of his Off-White label. After multiple fashion and art collaborations with Kanye West (after the two Chicgao natives interned at Fendi in 2009), Abloh embarked on numerous projects, partnerships and explorations at the intersections of fashion, art, design. and architecture that made the designer one of the most prolific creatives of the decade. It also culminated in the designer’s groundbreaking appointment as Louis Vuitton’s menswear artistic director in 2018, a move that crowned him the first black creative director in the role and one of the top black designers in the world. entire fashion industry. It also led to a new investment from LVMH in Abloh earlier this year.
With the recent news of the designer’s passing after a long battle with cancer, a look back at Abloh’s decade in fashion further illustrates the enormous work the designer has accomplished in such a short space of time.
Here, a non-exhaustive look at six ways Virgil Abloh changed fashion forever.
Abloh unveiled ‘streetwear’ for consumer and luxury fashion
After a stint with West that included everything from opening a menswear boutique in Chicago (with Don C) to artistic direction of the musical artist’s collaborative album “Watch The Throne” with Jay- Z, Abloh went on to found brands such as Pyrex Vision, a fashion newbie who experimented with screen printing and the use of unused clothing (most famous, a conservation of vintage Ralph Lauren collector’s items) as well as the collective #Been #Trill alongside Heron Preston and Matthew Williams. The two upstarts were a path for Abloh’s Off-White label, which he founded in 2012 with Farfetch-backed band New Guards. The brand, with its stripe and arrow logo, would usher in a streetwear frenzy that would lead to its definition (and acceptance) in the upper echelons of fashion as graphic designs embedded in casual clothing made with luxury materials. In August, LVMH acquired 60% of the brand’s shares.
His collaborations were limitless
There wasn’t a collaboration that was too niche or off the beaten path for Abloh, who partnered with everyone from Jimmy Choo to Nike in the fashion space and Evian to Ikea in the product world. commercial. The collaboration that put him squarely on the shoe map was, of course, “The Ten,” a partnership with Nike and the Jordan brand in 2017, in which Abloh reinterpreted ten of the giant’s most important styles and silhouettes. of the shoe.
Everyone wanted to go to their shows, even outside of fashion
With the streetwear frenzy at full speed, Abloh’s Off-White shows were the event of Paris Fashion Week, including and especially for those not in the industry event. During the fall 2018 show, in March 2018 in Paris, fans invaded the entrance to the hall as spectators with tickets struggled to get through the doors. The screening reflected Abloh’s continued connection to young people and his insistence on influencing youth culture as a constant point of reference in design.
His debut at Louis Vuitton made fashion history
After being appointed artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear in March 2018, Abloh launched the brand’s Spring / Summer 2019 collection in June 2018 with great fanfare, with supporters and collaborators including Kanye West, Rihanna, Travis. Scott, the Kardashians and Bella. Hadid in the front row and her friends Kid Cudi, Playboi Carti and Dev Hynes walking the colorful track, which had a “Color Theory” theme that beckoned the diversity of the moment. The following collections have further explored the experience of black people through fashion and music, with the Fall 21 parade featuring musician Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), poet Saul Williams and the audio account of James Baldwin’s 1953 essay “Stranger in the Village”.
Abloh took fashion’s musical connection to the next level
A longtime DJ, the designer has balanced his fashion endeavors with an endless touring schedule that has taken him across the globe. Abloh’s musical closeness to collaborators such as Kanye West and his friendships with musical artists such as Drake, Kid Cudi, Rihanna and others have brought another level of synergy to the two industries. Earlier this year, Abloh founded “Imaginary Radio c / o Virgil Abloh,” a two-hour Internet radio show on Worldwide FM.
He founded both a scholarship and mentorship program aimed at raising young black designers
Amid the explosion of the social justice movement of 2020, Abloh raised over $ 1 million for scholarships aimed at black fashion students, and also introduced his own mentorship program, “Free Game,” which provides step-by-step instructions for young fashion entrepreneurs to get started. their own brand.