Virgil Abloh: The Man Who Transformed Non-Fashion Design

Virgil Abloh was born in 1980 in Rockford, Illinois. After studying Civil Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he started working as an intern for Kanye West. In 2013, he founded his fashion label, Off-White. Abloh was also known for his work as a DJ and music producer. In 2017, he was named the artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, becoming the first person of African descent to hold a major design role at the iconic French fashion house. The appointment of an African American as the creative head designer for one of the most prestigious fashion houses in the world was a monumental moment in history.

Virgil Abloh was, without a doubt, one of the most talented and innovative designers of his generation. His work has transformed the way we think about fashion as he continued to challenge conventional ideas about what clothes can or should be. Virgil has transformed the fashion industry, specifically the high-end fashion world, by crafting collections for Louis Vuitton and Off White that are widely sought after. His designs have been worn by Kanye West and countless other celebrities worldwide. But before he was creating clothing for others to wear, Virgil Abloh began his career as an architect in Chicago. His interest in fashion stemmed from a desire to explore his creativity, and he decided that the best way was through clothing. Even though Abloh had no formal training in design, his passion for creating led him to pursue it as a career. He began by working with Kanye West on tour merchandising and music videos before meeting each other face-to-face. After years of hard work and dedication to learning the ropes of the high-end fashion world, Virgil Abloh became creative director at Louis Vuitton menswear, where he released pieces that were extremely well-received among critics and fans alike. Among those pieces were a tracksuit and sneakers that have been worn by everyone from Drake to Kanye West. Abloh was named “Designer of The Year” at GQ Awards.

Abloh’s art direction in the music industry is also widely respected. He’s directed music videos for artists like Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Lil Uzi Vert. Kanye named him the creative Director of Donda-Kanye’s creative agency. With the help of Kanye, Virgil became one of the hip hops most trusted creative directors. Some of West’s albums that Abloh was responsible for include The Life of Pablo, Yeezus, and Cruel Summer.

After founding Off White, Virgil created Grey Area, a creative agency in Milan. He did a few memorable furniture collaborations, such as Markerad assortment for Ikea and a three-piece assortment with Swiss plan organization Vitra.

Virgil has also done several art exhibitions and museum show:

  • “Figures of Speech” at the Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach, Germany (2011)
  • “NUIT BLANCHE – The sneakers” at Galeries Lafayette Paris, France (2012)
  • “Untitled” at Spazio Rossana Orlandi Milan Italy (2013)
  • “Transmission LA: AV Club” Los Angeles CA USA(2016)

Some of Virgil’s most notable collaborations and commissions include:

  • Nike “The Ten” sneaker collection (2017)
  • IKEA “Markerad” furniture collaboration (2018)
  • Moncler Genève “Moncler Genius” jacket collaboration (2018)
  • Serena Williams Official US Open 2018 Collection
  • Warby Parker Sunglasses “Mykonos” collaboration design (2018)
  • Apple Watch Series four “Watch Design Consultant” (2018-)

Virgil Abloh, the barrier-breaking Black designer, died on Sunday in Chicago after a two-year battle with a rare cancer. He was 41. Virgil’s accomplishments were significant because he broke barriers both within hip hop culture and throughout French fashion houses, where diversity among design leaders continues to be an issue that needs to be addressed head-on. Through collaborations with artists like IA, Moncler Genève, Serena Williams and Warby Parker, Virgil has shown his range as a designer by successfully executing projects across different industries. There’s no doubt that Virgil Abloh will always remain one of the most influential creative minds of our time.

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