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Fashion designer and icon Virgil Abloh dies at 41

Virgil Abloh, founder of Off-White and prominent figure in the Black community died yesterday of cancer.

[Photo of Virgil Abloh.]

Pioneering American fashion designer and entrepreneur, Virgil Abloh died yesterday after a two-year battle with a rare, aggressive form of cancer. He was 41 years old. Abloh made history as Louis Vuitton’s first Black artistic director. Daniel Marable reports.

Virgil Abloh founded his own brand, the cult streetwear label Off-White in 2012. He rose quickly, collaborating with Nike, Evian, IKEA, Levi’s, Jimmie Choo, Champion, and Timberland. He designed spaces for fashion with top architects. He was an artist and a DJ who worked with Kanye West and Jay Z, and had great impact on all kinds of culture. Tate Schmergel is Co-President of USC MASH, an online publication on the intersection of business and fashion. He says Abloh was a true trailblazer…

His entire philosophy is not about creating. It’s about repurposing and recontextualizing. So I think that in that way, his impact on art as a whole and particularly fashion, is taking objects that already exist and taking deconstructed art, deconstructed notions and putting your own mark on them.

The Chairman of Louis Vuitton, Bernard Arnault, who named Abloh menswear creative director in 2018, said following Abloh’s death, “Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul, and great wisdom…”

Again Tate Schmergel, Co-President of USC MASH

I think Abloh, in particular, left an immense mark on just the way that fashion labels regard their creations and also just like in a more global sense, diversity like he was named as one of the most influential people in 2018. Because of like he was the first creative director in the first like styling director of color and LVMH brand and also just like globally in terms of fashion and for 100 years.

In an Instagram post, Virgil Abloh’s wife quoted him as saying, “Everything I do is for the 17-year old version of myself, In the power of art to inspire future generations.”