Virgil Abloh, the founder of Off-White and artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear, passed away yesterday, at the age of 41. The iconic designer died of cancer, which he had been battling for years in private. He was diagnosed in 2019 with a rare form of cancer known as cardiac angiosarcoma. One thing is for sure, Virgil Abloh will remain in the history of design and in the art world, as he transcended a host of creative fields, spanning fashion, art, design, and music!
The designer is survived by his wife, Shannon Abloh, as well as his children, Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, and his parents, Nee and Eunice Abloh, who announced his passing on his Instagram profile.
His dedication to crafts and his mission to open doors for others, creating pathways for equality in art and design was clear, as well as his work ethic, infinite curiosity, and optimism. Virgil Abloh was born on September 30, 1980, outside of Chicago. His collaboration with Kanye West and his graphic-driven creations lifted his name and reputation in the world of luxury fashion and design. In 2018, Virgil Abloh was chosen to be the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, becoming the first Black designer to be named for the role.
The artist and renowned designer believed in the power of art and design to inspire younger generations, he often said, “Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,”. His career in the fashion industry started in 2009 when he interned at Roman house Fendi, alongside Kanye West. In 2012, Virgil Abloh launched the brand Off-White, filling the gap between luxury fashion streetwear. Off-White is renowned for its semiotics-driven approach to design, using apostrophes and asterisks as motifs.
“Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech” opened the MCA Chicago in 2019, celebrating the artist’s career to date, highlighting projects from his DJing to high jewelry design, Ikea, and Nike collaborations. The show was designed by OMA, Virgil Abloh’s long-term collaborators, and opened with a new version in November 2021, at the Fire Station in Doha. Black Gaze, analyses Abloh’s important part in stimulating the fashion and design industry’s long-standing rejection of Black talent, and his capacity to give other people of color a global platform.