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The Death of Virgil Abloh and His Innovative Accomplishments in the Fashion Industry

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

The unfortunate passing of Virgil Abloh, an influential fashion designer and creative artist, was announced on Nov. 28. It shocked everyone inside and outside of the fashion industry due to the fact that he passed at the young age of 41. Virgil Abloh lost his battle to cancer in which he chose to fight privately. Virgil was a husband and a father of two. 

Virgil had an enormous impact on the fashion industry, specifically his pivotal role in the culture of fashion. He communicated the important role that the youth holds in fashion culture. Virgil was born in Rockford, Ill. and his parents immigrated from Ghana.

Virgil found power in his identity as a young black designer, as he once explained “[he] grew up feeling that design wasn’t for [him], because [he] didn’t see anyone like [him] in design.” Virgil Abloh was impactful in these ways and many more, and we can honor him by acknowledging his visionary talent and brilliance that he shared with the world. 

One of his largest accomplishments was his role as the Men’s Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton. He held this position since March of 2018. Being that Louis Vuitton has held a consistent and high reputation of being one of the top luxury brands in the fashion industry, this was a very impressive role to hold. He used this role to transcend the brand in an artistic way.

Additionally, Virgil had many high level partnerships with other creators and brands such as Nike, Ikea and Kanye West, as well as collaborating on many artistic exhibits and special projects. The significance of creativity and art to Virgil was made it clear through his resumé and career of accomplishments. Design and creation was deemed his form of communication and language. He was known for speaking through fashion and through his art.

Virgil responded to many critics by throughout his career using his artistic voice. This was shown in his “Nothing New” collection that was seen as a response to Raf Simmons in 2017, or his 2016 DJ Flyers that were concerned with a dispute between his creative designs and the UN. Abloh believed in no limits and often found ways to impress and shock many. 

Virgil Abloh founded Off-White in 2013 and was also the artistic director for the progressive and bold luxury brand. This was one of his tests in breaking boundaries that succeeded onto a massive scale. Off-White began as an artwork in 2012 titled “PYREX VISION”. The following year it launched officially as a clothing brand.

Off-White has grown to have wide popularity and is among the hottest luxury brands, especially in hip-hop culture. Off-White holds a significant role in the youth, and Virgil had found this to be one of the pillars of the brand.

“The one thing that I think the luxury market needs to understand is that culture has changed. I don’t know if there’s any way to underline that any further. This should be in bold writing — that luxury by a 17-year-old’s standard is completely different than his parents’. His version of luxury is streetwear.” He also stated that, “A 17-year-old can be more advanced and often is more advanced than a 45-year-old, so my design theory and the culture that surrounds Off-White is nontraditional.” 

Virgil Abloh’s impact on the fashion industry has ascended throughout his career as a result of his many projects, collaborations, exhibitions and brands. As an influential black designer, he changed the game in many ways and for many people. He provided fresh, imaginative and creative ideas and products to the world and will continue to influence and inspire generations to come.

A second-year student studying Marketing with a minor in Graphic Design, from the suburbs outside of Philly. She is passionate about art and fashion, and loves spending time on campus drinking coffee, listening to music, and making memories with friends.