News of the passing of Ghanaian-American fashion icon Virgil Abloh on the 28th of November, 2021 rocked the fashion and art world. Abloh, for the past decade and a half, remained a progressive fixture in the fashion industry- especially menswear. He stood at the pinnacle of streetwear culture and influenced many creatives and concepts.
Abloh was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois in 30th, September in 1980 by Ghanaian migrant parents. After graduating with a Masters in Architecture at IIT, Abloh made the radical switch into fashion when he met Rem Koolhas in 2006. An internship at Fendi brought Abloh into contact with Kanye West. This would be the start of a friendship that would transform streetwear and art expression.
In 2012, Abloh laughed Pyrex Vision. It was a brand started with a design theme around youth culture. Although the brand was discontinued a year later, Abloh would proceed towards the formation of his brainchild OFF-WHITE.
Starting off simple as a streetwear line, OFF-WHITE’s success would lead to a collaboration between Abloh and NIKE that would birth the iconic “The Ten”.
The Ten informed sneaker culture and would lead to many more collaborations between Abloh and big brand such as Jimmy Choo and even furniture design with IKEA.
OFF-WHITE became a luxury streetwear brand. Versatility remained Abloh’s strong suit. Soon OFF-WHITE was featuring on high-fashion shows all the while stay true to the basics of streetwear and expression.
In 2018, Abloh was offered the position of artistic director at Louis Vuitton’s male line. He was the first black man to stand at the helm of the fashion house.
His first fashion show was a showcase of youthfulness, luxury and experimental fabrics and designs. It was an absolute success. At the end of the show Abloh and Kanye West embraced in tears. Their dreams had been realised.
Abloh remained a vestige of fashion year in and year out. When he was not designing clothes or sneakers, he was designing art pieces and influencing culture. His exhibition “Figures of Speech” drews tens of thousands of enthusiasts. On 28th November, 2021 it was announced that Abloh had passed after struggling with a rare form of cancer for 2 years. The world was distraught.
Many black creatives all over the world were inspired by Virgil Abloh. His tpuch on pop culture translated across language, nationationalities and sensibilities. Here are a few posts and comments from some black creatives who paid tribute to the passing of the icon Virgil Abloh.
Abloh’s place in fashion, art and culture is one carved and curated through his own visionary talents and hardwork. His influence cannot be disregarded and his passing has indeed ripped a fissure in space. Rest well son of Ghana.