One-of-A-Kind Fashion Designer Leaves Lasting Legacy

“Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself.” -Virgil Abloh

Paula Le, Editor

Virgil Abloh, known for infusing streetwear and high couture, has passed away at the age of 41 on Nov. 28th.

Abloh was born in Chicago to immigrant parents from Ghana. As the founder of the Italian luxury brand Off-White and artistic director of Louis Vuitton, Abloh will forever be a respectable icon in the fashion world. Abloh’s talent was like no other.

With no formal fashion training but a degree in engineering and a master’s in architecture, the only fashion skill he had known was how to sew from his mother. But as Abloh and rapper Kanye West (or Ye) interned together at Fendi, Abloh played a role as artistic director for West’s “Watch The Throne” and other covers of songs. Shifting to fashion, he started up his company in 2012. Abloh’s label is known for its style of featuring product descriptions on them in quotes such as “for rainy days” on rain boots. Off-White has collaborated with Nike and Kia, as well as designed for celebrities, including Hailey Bieber’s wedding dress.

@kimkardashian on Instagram

Serving as West’s creative director, he worked alongside him for years until becoming Louis Vuitton’s first Black artistic director in 2018. His debut menswear runway show for LV highlighted a rainbow runway. Around 2019, Virgil Abloh worked alongside Nike to establish NikeLab Chicago Re-Creation Center to provide more space for young adults for “artistic energy,” and to simply give back to the Chicago community.

Though Virgil Abloh is commonly known for his outstanding craft, he was also an established DJ, as he played at festivals such as Tomorrowland, Circoloco, etc.

Virgil Abloh’s character and the time he dedicated his passion towards didn’t go unnoticed, as he was named among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2018.

On Virgil Abloh’s Instagram, his family posted a statement of his passing in memory of him. “For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma. He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture.” Abloh’s dedication to his art was to fulfill his sole goal— to create pathways for greater equality for the fashion world.

As Abloh strongly considers the power of art to inspire future generations, Virgil Abloh’s family expressed how he regularly said, “Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself.”

CEO of LVMH, Bernard Arnault recounts how Abloh was “not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom.” Drake paid tribute, expressing, “My plan is to touch the sky 1000 more times for you… love you eternally brother 🕊 thank you for everything.” “He was 1 of 1 (…) I picture him now like our Mickey Mouse .. forever with us, forever adored, forever magical, forever guiding us with that special Virgil FUN (…) as we always said.. ‘See you somewhere, soon ™️,'” Gigi Hadid voiced.

As a husband, father, designer, and friend, Virgil Abloh’s character left an impact on not only the fashion world but the individuals who looked up to him.