Designer, DJ, entrepreneur, and architect Virgil Abloh rose to the peak of fashion and music culture before his tragic death in 2021. He made history when he was announced as the newest Creative Director for Louis Vuitton in 2018. He had become the first African-American to be made director of a French luxury fashion house. That same year he released his first single “Orvnge” and an accompanying three-track EP in collaboration with German producer Boys Noize. This snapshot in time is a great peek into who Abloh was as a creator - busy, cutting-edge and always inspired.
Growing up in Illinois, Abloh always showed an interest in fashion and music. In his youth, he was already designing his own clothes, writing for a fashion blog and DJing. He earned degrees in Civil Engineering and Architecture. Though they wouldn’t be his main vocation, his time in school taught him the design principles that would fuel his art practice for years to come.
In 2009, Abloh and his long-time friend/collaborator Kanye West took their love for fashion across the pond when they interned for the luxury Italian brand Fendi. His connections, charisma, and talent eventually led him to create his own fashion house Off-White, which he oversaw up until his death.
Though the bulk of his professional career took him deeper into fashion, he never gave up his love for music. Those familiar with his designs know they're inextricable from music culture. His design aesthetic combined streetwear and hip-hop fashion with luxury. His vision granted him a level of global fame that was previously unheard of for a designer.
In 2011 he joined hip-hop mogul JAY-Z and Kanye West to work on the collaborative LP Watch The Throne. Though his hand in the hip-hop world remained influential, Abloh’s solo work stayed in the realms of minimal house and techno. He had been a practicing DJ since his teenage years, and his pursuits would lead him to some of the world’s most iconic stages like Hï Ibiza and Tomorrowland. He also became the resident DJ at the XS Nightclub in Las Vegas.
In 2019 Abloh was diagnosed with cardiac angiosarcoma, though he kept relatively quiet about it. Much to the dismay of the fashion and music communities, Virgil passed on November 28, 2021 at the age of 41 in Chicago.