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Virgil Abloh: A Fashion Icon Gone Too Soon

Off-White and Louis Vuitton are two of the biggest fashion luxury brands out right now, and that is all thanks to one special man: Virgil Abloh. He was one of the best designers this world has ever seen. Many people from various backgrounds loved Abloh’s designs. He was respected by many in the fashion world, the music industry, the architectural world, and many other career groups. His death was announced on Sunday, November 28, 2021. He was 41 years old at the time of his death. Virgil passed away after a three-year-long battle with a rare form of cancer. It was a very private battle, so when his death was announced, everyone was in shock and awe. He received an enormous amount of love and condolences from many celebrities and influencers. Virgil leaves behind a wife, two children, and a profound legacy. 

Virgil Abloh was born in Rockford, Illinois on September 30, 1980. He received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002. Abloh also went on to receive a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. (Architecture is a popular major/degree for many renowned fashion designers.) He then went on to become an intern for Fendi in Rome, Italy in 2009. While interning for Fendi, he met one of his long-term best friends there, Kanye West. Interning for Fendi helped him expand his horizons and creative space for him to soon go on and create the luxury brand, Off-White. Off-White was the very first luxury streetwear brand. It soon became very notable and recognized with some of the greats, such as Gucci, Prada, Celine, etc. Off-White was the foundation of bridging hype beast culture and the luxury world together, bringing a new era of fashion among us. 

With Off-White being 100% original and a luxury brand, it grabbed the attention of many head designers at other luxury brands, one of them being Louis Vuitton. Virgil became the lead artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear back in 2018. He changed the game with the majority of the designs he put forward with Louis Vuitton. Celebrities all around the world would come to Louis Vuitton’s fashion shows just to see what Virgil’s new collections looked like, and what new ideas he brought alive. While being over the men’s portion of Louis Vuitton, still designing and working with his own brand Off-White, he was also collaborating with big companies such as Nike and Ikea. Last July, Abloh was promoted to a new position at Louis Vuitton that would allow him to work across the group’s 75 brands. With this new promotion, he was pronounced the most powerful Black executive in the most powerful luxury group in the world. Virgil was said to be “a popular fashion theorist whose expansive and occasionally controversial approach to design inspired comparisons with everyone from Andy Warhol to Jeff Koons.” 

Virgil Abloh didn’t only make an impact in the fashion world, he had a foot in other fields too such as music and architecture. His name and brand are mentioned in many artists’ songs all over the world. Many don’t know that before his fashion career took off, he was actually a DJ and a furniture designer as well. He not only made history in fashion but also in black history. His legacy is one to study, appreciate, and respect. To end, a quote from Bernard Arnault, the chairman of Louis Vuitton Men Headquarters, “Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom”.

Hey, my name is Taliah Muhammad. I am a third year International Studies major on the Pre-Law track at the illustrious Hampton University. I love to style outfits for people and discuss politics! I’m very excited to be apart of the Hampton U chapter of Her Campus this year, and I can’t wait to see everything we accomplish!
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