The Rise and Rise of Virgil Abloh

by Duchess Magazine

Virgil Abloh was a designer and businessman from the United States, Virgil Abloh. From 2018 until his passing in late 2021, he oversaw Louis Vuitton’s menswear line as its artistic director. Aloh was also the CEO of the fashion house Off-White, which he founded in 2012 and has its headquarters in Milan.

Abloh, an architect by training, entered the world of international fashion in 2009 when he interned at Fendi with American rapper Kanye West. Abloh also worked in Chicago street fashion. Afterward, the two started working together creatively, which helped Abloh launch Off-White and launch his career.

He became the first African-American to hold the position of artistic director at a French luxury fashion house, and in 2018, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Abloh’s fusion of streetwear and high fashion was dubbed transformative by The New York Times.

Abloh created T-shirt designs and fashion and design-related articles for the renowned blog. The Brilliance while pursuing his architectural studies. While developing his ideas at a Chicago print shop, Abloh first crossed paths with the well-known singer Kanye West.

Parents who had immigrated from Ghana gave birth to Virgil Abloh on September 30, 1980, in Rockford, Illinois. His father was the manager of a paint company, and his mother was a seamstress. He acquired sewing skills from his mother. Abloh grew up in Rockford and graduated from Boylan Catholic High School in 1998.

His bachelor’s of science in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison was awarded to him in 2002. In 2006, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) awarded him a Master of Architecture degree. Abloh became interested in fashion while he was a student at IIT thanks to a building that was being constructed on campus. The building was designed by designed by architect Rem Koolhaas who had previously worked on Prada’s runway collections.

With the high-end streetwear company Off-White, which he formed in 2013, Abloh launched his first fashion house and second company overall. He created a logo that was inspired by Ben Kelly.

He was invited to create a new collection with Nike called “The Ten” in 2017, and he redone a number of the brand’s best-selling shoes in the process. Abloh created draughts of generic furniture pieces for the IKEA collection while incorporating his personal aesthetics into the designs by utilising a doorstop to level off furniture pieces. This was done in an effort to realise his vision for the IKEA collection.

In the course of his partnership with IKEA, Abloh created designs for couches, coffee tables, beds, closets, mirrors, and carpets. In order to suggest disengagement from society and social conventions, Abloh employed quote marks.

Being one of the few black designers in charge of a significant French fashion firm, Abloh became the first person of African ancestry to manage Louis Vuitton’s menswear line when he was designated artistic director of the brand’s ready-to-wear collection on March 25, 2018.

Awards and Recognitions

Abloh’s cover art for the joint album by American rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West earned him his first significant honour in 2011.

Abloh was a nominee for the LVMH Prize in 2015 (working for Off-White). Only Abloh, an American designer, received a nomination for the prize in that particular year.

The “War is Not Over!” t-shirts and caps from Abloh’s fall 2015 women’s collection that were inspired by Charlie Hebdo received the most attention.

At the 2017 British Fashion Awards, he won the Urban Luxe honour. Also, he was named 2017’s International Designer of the Year at the GQ Men of the Year Awards.

Abloh was nominated for Accessory Designer of the Year and won the 2017 Shoe of the Year award for his Off-White Air Jordan “the Ten” partnership. One of two designers recognised that year, Abloh was selected among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

Abloh’s excellent accomplishments contributed to his listing, according to Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, who wrote about it in the Time issue. Abloh and SHAVONE were recognised as prominent innovators by Ebony Power 100 in December 2018. Also up for the 2019 Menswear Designer of the Year award was Abloh.

Abloh received a diagnosis of heart angiosarcoma in 2019, but he opted to keep the information confidential. On November 28, 2021, he passed away in Chicago at the age of 41 from cancer.

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