Celebrated fashion designer Virgil Abloh passed away over the Thanksgiving weekend following a two-year battle with cancer that he fought in private. Abloh was just 41 years of age.
He was diagnosed with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of the disease they first found in 2019. He endured multiple treatments, but succumbed to the disease this weekend.
“We are heartbroken”, someone from his family said in a statement.
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Abloh is a fashion trailblazer, who is known for the creation of sought-after streetwear label Off-White and creative director and designer for menswear and fashion house Louis Vuitton. His success did not come overnight, as he spent more than 10 years working toward his rise to the top of the industry.
Below are a few highlights from Virgil Abloh’s illustrious career that has sadly ended too soon.
He Was Almost An Architect?
Before heading the menswear division at LV, Abloh attended the Illinois Institute of Technology where he graduated with a master’s degree in architecture. At the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he earned a bachelor’s in civil engineering.
Highly educated and with a unique lens on all things design, Abloh would join Kanye West’s team after meeting with the rapper’s manager instead of attending his graduation. His creative input was enlisted and he helped envision Kanye and his label’s creative endeavors, from worldwide tours to art direction.
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An Intern at Fendi?
Abloh partnered with fellow Kanye-team member Don C on RSVP Gallery, a Chicago-based conceptual retail shop that carried a number of sought-after premium brands. In the same year, he was invited to intern at Fendi by former CEO Michael Burke (now the CEO at LVMH) along with Kanye. He was paid just $500 per month during the internship, but Burke is impressed.
A Grammy Nomination
He would be recognized with a Grammy nomination for his art direction work with Kanye’s DONDA agency. Specifically, he is nominated for the album artwork he created for Kanye and Jay-Z’s joint album, “Watch The Throne”.
Abloh drops a new collection called Pyrex Vision where he repurposes vintage Ralph Lauren and Champion garments and sells them for hundreds of dollars. He also works on designs with lifestyle brand Been Trill before launching his very own fashion label Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh, an upscale streetwear company headquartered in Milan, Italy.
Abloh even debuts his new designs during Paris Fashion Week.
The LVMH Prize
From streetwear to the top of the fashion industry, Abloh was recognized for his fashion achievements with a nomination for the coveted LVMH Prize, going up against the likes of Demna Gvasalia and Simon Porte Jacquemus. He did not win, but he was the sole American up for the award.
Three notable design collaborations find their way to Abloh, including his highly sought-after partnerships with Nike where he reinterpreted 10 of the brand’s iconic silhouettes for “The Ten”. Every release from this collaboration are delivered in extremely limited quantities and fetches thousands of dollars on the resell market. Celebrities and fashion icons are seen wearing Virgil’s Nike renditions.
For his Princess Diana-inspired spring/summer ’18 show, he enlists footwear legend Jimmy Choo. Later, Virgil partners with Ikea on a line of inexpensive furniture targeted toward millennials.
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