The fashion world lost its brightest light after Virgil Abloh passed away on November 28, 2021. The American designer and creative behind Off-White and Louis Vuitton’s recent resurgence breathed his last after battling a long and lone fight with cancer.
Rising from humble beginnings:
Born in Rockford, Illinois, in 1980, Abloh earned a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He then went on to pursue Architecture before breaking out of the box and launching Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh in 2012.
He caught an interest in the fashion industry while helping his Ghanaian seamstress mother sew in their Illinois home and despite having no formal fashion training (besides his mother’s instruction), he went on to achieve great success. Abloh was also quick to gain ranks and made it as the artistic director of menswear at esteemed luxury brand Louis Vuitton within six years of his joining.
Lone battle with cancer:
The revered designer, who also has as a DJ and artist, was suffering from cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare cancer that targets the heart. However, he had managed to keep his health under the wraps, with no one taking notice of his fight with cancer.
His sudden and unexpected passing shook the fashion industry as well as fans. Commenting on his demise Abloh’s family in a post wrote: “He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture.”
The statement further read, “Through it all, his work ethic, infinite curiosity, and optimism never wavered. Virgil was driven by his dedication to his craft and to his mission to open doors for others and create pathways for greater equality in art and design. He often said, “Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,” believing deeply in the power of art to inspire future generations.”
Remarking on the tragedy, Bernard Arnault, Owner of French fashion conglomerate LVMH, said, ‘Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom.’ Several other celebrities, such as Drake and Pharrel to fellow design icons Jerry Lorenzo and Kim Jones, also poured their condolences on social media. Further, Kanye West also shut down his DONDA Live Sunday Service website and replaced it with a static tribute to his late friend.
Leaving behind a Fashion Legacy:
Abloh, in his time, brought about a revolution in the fashion industry. In his tenure at LVMH, he spoke about creating a diverse environment within the fashion industry and stated that he wanted to use his partnership with LVMH ‘to expand opportunities for diverse individuals and foster greater equity and inclusion in the industries we serve.’
A compassionate soul, he also created a scholarship fund in 2020 to assist aspiring black fashion students. Even though Abloh is long gone, his contributions to the fashion industry and his revolutionary aesthetic are here to stay forever!