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June 24, 2024

Virgil Abloh, Designer and Founder of Off-White, passes away at 41

Schenelle Dsouza
The fashion industry grieves the loss of a true visionary, Virgil Abloh who passed away on November 28. His passing was announced by luxury group LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) and Abloh’s own Off-White label.
Virgil Abloh
Photo Courtesy: LVMH / Instagram
In a statement on the designer’s Instagram account, Abloh’s family said he was diagnosed two years ago with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer.
Abloh and West
Among his many achievements, Virgil Abloh will always be remembered for unconventional aesthetics. It was Abloh’s groundbreaking fusions of streetwear and high couture that made him one of the most celebrated influencers in the fashion industry.
Virgil Abloh
Photo Courtesy: Virgil Abloh / Instagram
Impressed by Abloh’s unorthodox thinking, West appointed Abloh as his creative director in 2002. In 2009, both Abloh and West interned together for one month at the Fendi headquarters in Rome in a twist of fate. Abloh was also the art director for the 2011 Ye-Jay-Z album “Watch the Throne,” for which he was nominated for a Grammy.
Association with Louis Vuitton
In 2018, Abloh became the first Black artistic director of men’s wear at Louis Vuitton in the French design house’s storied history. A first-generation Ghanaian American whose seamstress mother taught him to sew, Abloh had no formal fashion training but had a degree in engineering and a masters in architecture.
Virgil Abloh
Photo Courtesy: Acielle / Instagram
In his work with Louis Vuitton, Abloh blurred the lines between high fashion and streetwear, while pushing artistic boundaries and challenging gender norms. Through his work, he also addressed environmental and social issues like racism and homophobia. “We’re designers, so we can start a trend, we can highlight issues, we can make a lot of people focus on something or we can cause a lot of people to focus on ourselves,” said Abloh.
Virgil Abloh
Photo Courtesy: Virgil Abloh / Instagram
Abloh’s association with Louis Vuitton made him one of the most powerful Black executives in what was once a historically-closed fashion world.
Off-White 
In 2013, Virgil Abloh founded Off-White, a multi-platform creative endeavour based in Milan. It was initially called Pyrex Vision. He combined the ideas of streetwear, luxury, art, music, and travel, all into one single platform.

 

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A post shared by Off-White™ (@off____white)

Abloh later rebranded the company as Off-White, which he defined as, “the grey area between black and white as the colour Off-White.”
Abloh’s work with West served as a blueprint for future border-crossing collaborations. Since its launch, Off-White has had quite a few collaborations with different brands right from Nike and Jimmy Choo to Ikea, Barneys New York and Byredo.
Virgil Abloh
Photo Courtesy: Off-White / Instagram
Abloh is survived by his wife, Shannon, and their two children, Lowe and Grey.
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Schenelle Dsouza

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