Abloh, Virgil

Abloh Virgil (1980). Fashion designer of Ghanaian origin. Louis Vuitton’s artistic director since 2018 and he is also the CEO of Off-White.

Abloh

Abloh Virgil. Fashion designer of Ghanaian origin. Virgil was born in Rockford, Illinois, on September 30, 1980. He was born into a family of humble origins. he graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin. Additionally he earned a master’s in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Moreover, during the course of his life he ventured as a DJ in clubs, making himself known with the name Flat White.

In 2003 he met John Monopoly, the former manager of Kanye West. A strong harmony was immediately born between the two. Although Abloh was not tied to fashion, thanks to past studies, he convinced Monopoly to let him design the rapper’s merchandise. In 2006, with West, he found himself in Rome for an internship in the  Fendi‘s atelier. Michael Burke, now Vuitton’s CEO, was the CEO at the time.

Soon after, they will found the young fashion brand Pyrex Vision, a simply streetwear line, consisting of tracksuits, t-shirts and branded accessories.

In 2010 Abloh officially assumes the role of creative director at Donda, West’s creative agency.

Abloh’s raise to fame 

His success was achieved over the years. In fact, in 2013 with the help of Marcelo Burlon and the New Guards Group collective Virgil founded Off-White. It’s a brand dedicated to Millennials defined as deluxe streetwear. “I feel like we are in a new Renaissance for young people,” he says.

In 2013 Abloh also directed ASAP ROCKY’s Fashion Killa Video.

After being selected for the prestigious award organized by LVMH in favor of young talents of international fashion. Then he began to show in Paris with a women’s collection and then returned, in 2016, to propose a men’s ready-to-wear, dedicated to Lucio Fontana .

In 2017, after having signed important collaborations with Nike, Ikea, Rimowa and Jimmy Choo, he arrives at the management of the creative team of Louis Vuitton Homme, succeeding Kim Jones.

Abloh is fond of a loud slogan or logo that either states what the item is or deliberately confuses it.

Abloh has always supported his interest in luxury, denying fast fashion. It is also defined as a whole thing.

What I do can be defined in different ways: architect, artist, graphic designer, fashion designer, creative director, art director, stylist, director, photographer, DJ … I’m not interested in focusing on only one thing. 

His fashion tells about contemporary society without forcing its minimalist aspect. He is adept at mixing styles naturally. Street culture, with Abloh, blends with tailored details: a comfortable look that captures the right key for a modern fashion language in tailoring.

In 2015 Abloh was a finalist for the LVMH Young Designers Prize.

He also won International designer of the Year at the GQ men of the year awards in 2017.

Abloh from 2018 to 2019

In 2018 Abloh revealed his Ikea collaboration titled ‘Makerad’. Aimed at reaching students and young adults, the collection featured slogan covered rugs, storage furniture and Ikea’s Frakta shopping bag with an Abloh trademark twist.

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Abloh x Ikea, “Makerad”.

Broadening his artistic collaboration range, Virgil Abloh went onto collaborate with renowned Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, in October 2018.  The exhibition was called “TECHNICOLOR 2”. Indeed the contemporary art exhibition saw a culmination of both their distinctive creative languages. The vibrant display boasted of large sculptures, neon colours, hanging canvases and a blend of both their motifs.

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Additionally Abloh was nominated in the ‘menswear designer of the year’ category by the prestigious CFDA fashion awards in 2018.

In the same year he was also named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by the Time.

The designer showed his first collection for Louis Vuitton at the 2018 Men’s Fashion Week at the Palais-Royal gardens in Paris.

Moreover Abloh continued to create waves in 2019. For instance his Fall Winter 2019 menswear collection for Louis Vuitton raised a lot of controversy. In fact he took inspiration from Michael Jackson’s pop culture legacy. Especially, Abloh’s interpretation saw criticism after HBO’d documentary on MJ brought issues of child abuse to light. Immediately Abloh and LV clarified the air surrounding their latest sartorial offering.

During his career he also collaborated with Moncler and Warby Parker.

Abloh 2019-2020

In 2019 Abloh performed at Coachella valley music and arts festival. Not to mention, Abloh was spotted wearing Off White X Nike shoes.  He presented his music and fashion on the same stage.

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Virgil Abloh at Coachella.

Additionally ‘Figures of speech’ was unveiled in 2019. It is an exhibit celebrating the works and intrinsic aesthetics of Virgil Abloh. It was designed by Abloh himself. Curated by Michael Darling of Museum of Contemporary Arts (Chicago), the exhibit showcased the evolution of Abloh’s genre-bending creative practice.

Abloh
Virgil Abloh x MCA Chicago.

Amidst New York fashion week in September 2019, Abloh announced that he would take a 3-months break from his professional responsibilities. In fact, he was burned out owing to his busy lifestyle and sought medical leave, giving fashion month a miss.

In the same year he was also nominated for 2019 “Menswear Designer of the Year”.

Additionally in 2019, Virgil was appointed to the board of directors of The Council of Fashion Designers of America. The council’s aim is to promote the American fashion industry.

The designer created a custom Off-White gown and veil for Hailey Bieber’s wedding day.

Furthermore in 2020, he established the Virgil Abloh™️ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund. He was able to raise $1 million for the scholarships. They will be managed by the Fashion Scholarship Fund to assist Black students. 

The designer is rumored to have a net worth of $20 million.

Abloh today

Abloh is happily married and has two kids. 

After his break Virgil is back on the scene. In fact in January 2021 he presented the Louis Vuitton’s Fall Winter 2021 menswear. Everything revolved around Black consciousness and culture appropriation, topics very close to the designer. The collection was inspired, and accompanied, by the words of James Baldwin in “Stranger in the Village”.

As Black people, as trans people, as marginalized people, the world is here for our taking, for it takes so much from us.

This was the sixth collection he presented with LV. Originally designed to be performed live, the show was filmed and presented online, due to the restrictions to stop the Covid-19 pandemic. Peculiar Contrast, Perfect Light was the name of the short film. 

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This collection is probably the most divisive yet. It was for sure a challenge to archetypes (the artist, the salesman, the architect, the vagabond). Some recurring themes of the presentation were diversity, inclusivity, and unconscious biases.

Kai-Isaiah Jamal walked the show and he is now the first Black transgender model to walk for Louis Vuitton. The show also brought some criticism, some believe that he overloads his clothes and doesn’t finish concepts. Indeed some designs are very complex, and do not focus on a single thing. But maybe this could be one way to reach every single person in his audience.

Virgil Abloh is for sure a promising talent, and we expect to see a lot more from him.

 

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