Generation Black TV - Live

Fashion Icon Virgil Abloh Passes Away at 41

Fashion Icon Virgil Abloh Passes Away at 41




Virgil Abloh // via Louis Vuitton


The world of fashion & streetwear has been taken by storm with news of an important passing.

“We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh, a fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother, and friend. He is survived by his loving wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh, and numerous dear friends and colleagues,” the post from his Instagram account read.

Abloh had been battling against a particularly dangerous form of cancer, known as cardiac angiosarcoma. He had been diagnosed with it back in 2019, undergoing many different medical treatments while still serving as the head of a myriad of major fashion and cultural institutions.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @virgilabloh

Abloh is better known as the founder of Off-white, a major fashion brand in streetwear. He had, however, worked in many major fashion houses before founding his own, including Louis Vuitton. Abloh had a breakthrough as Louis Vuitton’s first Black art director. Abloh brought in a younger demographic to contemporary brands. His inspiration has always been streetwear.

Working at Louis Vuitton, his menswear collections became fashion icons when worn by celebrities such as Timothée Chalet in the 2019 Golden Globes. Virgil Abloh’s name is synonymous with cross-collaborations, coming up with several editions of the Off-White x Nike designs.

Abloh began his story in the world of fashion after he finished his education in the University of Wisconsin-Madison in civil engineering, ironic, given how in 2015 he would later return to design the commemorative tees for the university.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by #HIREBLACK (@socialfixt)

Allegedly, Abloh had even skipped the final critique of his graduation day to meet up with John Monopoly, better known as the then Kanye West’s manager. This prompt meeting caused Ye and Abloh to start working together.

Later, in 2006, Abloh finished a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology, opening his interest in the world of fashion. Three years later, Abloh scored an internship at Fendi in Rome, impressing everyone up to the CEO of Louis Vuitton, Michael Burke.

Abloh and West had even made the rounds at Paris Fashion Week, eventually being photographed by Tommy Ton for in what would later become an iconic picture outside of the Comme des Garçons show.

Abloh’s career skyrocketed from there, eventually taking over as creative director at Donda, Kanye’s creative agency. In 2012, he even launched his first brand, Pyrex Vision. The brand employed cheap flannel shirts from Ralph Lauren and was printed with the word Pyrex and the number 23. They were bought for $40 and sold for $550. Does that sound similar to another fashion business model?

While based in Milan, Abloh founded Off-white, which would later become his biggest fashion project taking inspiration from his success in Pyrex. Off-white was the perfect mixture of streetwear and luxury. It has become so famous that using quotation marks in fashion has been synonymous with Abloh as Off-white’s name.

He launched womenswear for Off-white one year later and showcased his innovative streetwear collections in Paris Fashion Week. He even had Beyoncé wear a palm-print sweatshirt from his womenswear collection.

Fast forward to 2018 and Abloh is named the art director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, once again adding his touch of streetwear design to an otherwise traditional luxury brand.

Abloh was also prominent in other areas of art, such as music. He was a DJ who played at important music venues ever since he began collaborating with Kanye. He also collaborated with Mercedes Benz on a concept car design and also collaborated with IKEA.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by LADO B Second Hand (@ladobsecondhand)

Daniel Day, also known as Dapper Dan, spoke out regarding Abloh’s passing on an Instagram post, highlighting Abloh’s contributions to the world of art as a black man. British Vogue editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful, praised him as a giant among men.

Even models like Gigi Hadid and Hailey Bieber spoke out on social media, calling Abloh a once-in-a-generation creative mind.

Abloh planned on a Louis Vuitton fashion show to open a men’s store in the city before his death. As a tribute, his Spring-Summer 2022 collection showcase will go at 5:30 pm ET on Tuesday, November 30.

The world of fashion has definitely taken a big hit with the passing of Virgil Abloh, who redefined streetwear and the role of Black men in the world of fashion.

What's your reaction?