Virgil Abloh lecturing at Columbia University, 2017
September 30, 1980|
Rockford, Illinois, U.S.
University of Wisconsin–Madison|
Illinois Institute of Technology
|Known for||Leading Louis Vuitton's men's wear and founding Off-White|
|Notable work||Off White™ X Nike “The Ten”|
Shannon Abloh (m. 2009)
Virgil Abloh (//;[stress?] born September 30, 1980) is an American fashion designer who has been the artistic director of Louis Vuitton's men's wear collection since March 2018. Apart from his work at Louis Vuitton, Abloh serves as the chief executive officer of the Milan-based label Off-White, a fashion house he founded in 2013 .
Born in Rockford, Illinois to Ghanaian parents, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2002 and the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2006, with degrees in civil engineering and architecture, respectively. He entered the world of fashion with an internship at Fendi in 2009 alongside rapper Kanye West. The two began an artistic collaboration that would launch Abloh's career into founding Off-White. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2018.
Virgil Abloh was born on September 30, 1980 in Rockford, Illinois to Ghanaian immigrant parents. His mother was a seamstress. Abloh was raised in Rockford, where he attended Boylan Catholic High School, graduating in 1998. He met his future wife, Shannon, in high school. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2002 with an undergraduate degree in civil engineering. He received his Master of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2006.
2009–2013: rise to prominence
After graduating from university, he interned at Fendi in the same class as rapper Kanye West in 2009. Placed in the company's Rome, Italy office, the two began a collaborative relationship. A year later, West appointed Abloh the creative director of his creative agency, DONDA. In 2011, West asked him to serve as the artistic director for the 2011 Jay-Z/Kanye West album Watch the Throne. In 2012, Abloh launched his first company, Pyrex Vision, a small boutique of couture streetwear. Abloh purchased deadstock clothing from Ralph Lauren for $40, screen-printed designs on them and sold them for prices upward of $550. He closed the company down a year later as he did not intend it to be a commercial enterprise but an artistic experiment.
2013–2017: Off-White and mainstream success
Abloh founded his first fashion house and second business overall in 2013 with the high-end streetwear brand Off-White. Based in Milan, Italy, the company was described by Abloh as "the gray area between black and white as the color off-white" to investors and fashion critics. He launched the company's women's wear line in 2014 and showed the collections at the Paris Fashion Week. His line was selected as a finalist for the LVMH Prize, an industry award, but lost to Marques’Almeida and Jacquemus. Abloh launched his first concept store for Off-White in Tokyo, Japan where he started the company's furniture arm, Grey Area. In 2017, he was asked to design a new collection in conjunction with Nike entitled "The Ten" where he re-designed a variety of the company's best-selling shoes. Virgil also partnered up with the Swedish furniture company IKEA to design furniture for apartments and houses. The collection will be named Markerad which is a Swedish word meaning “clear-cut; crisp; pronounced” and is scheduled to release in 2019. Abloh employs quotation marks stylistically in order to convey ironic detachment from society and social norms.
During the rise in neo-nationalism in 2017 Abloh worked with conceptual artist Jenny Holzer to create a line emphasizing the positive aspects of immigration, cultural integration, and globalization. In December 2017, he worked with Holzer again to design t-shirts for Planned Parenthood in response to the Women's March on Washington.
2018–present: Louis Vuitton
On March 25, 2018, Abloh was named artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear ready wear line, marking him the first person of African descent to lead the brand's menswear line, as well as one of the few black designers at the helm of a major French fashion house. Upon his acceptance of the position, he stated, "It is an honor for me to accept this position. I find the heritage and creative integrity of the house are key inspirations and will look to reference them both while drawing parallels to modern times". Abloh showed his first collection for Louis Vuitton at the 2018 Men's Fashion Week at the Palais-Royal gardens in Paris. Rihanna was the first person to wear Abloh before the show. Playboi Carti, Steve Lacy, A$AP Nast, Dev Hynes, and Kid Cudi walked for the fashion show,
Abloh maintains a house in Lincoln Park, Chicago with his wife, Shannon Abloh and their two children, Lowe and Grey. He travels 350,000 miles a year for his work. He is of the Ewe tribe in the Volta region in Ghana.
Awards and honors
Abloh received his first major award in 2011 when his work designing the cover art for the 2011 Jay-Z/Kanye West album Watch the Throne was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package. He received the Urban Luxe award at the 2017 British Fashion Awards. Abloh was listed as one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in 2018, one of two designers named that year.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Virgil Abloh.|
- Wolf, Cam (April 19, 2018). "Virgil Abloh Is One of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World". GQ. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- Yotka, Steff (March 28, 2018). "A Brief History of Virgil Abloh's Meteoric Rise". Vogue. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- Friedman, Vanessa; Paton, Elizabeth (March 26, 2018). "Louis Vuitton Names Virgil Abloh as Its New Men's Wear Designer". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- Solway, Diane (April 20, 2017). "Virgil Abloh and His Army of Disruptors: How He Became the King of Social Media Superinfluencers". W Magazine. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- Rock, Michael (February 6, 2017). "Virgil Abloh - Columbia GSAPP". Columbia GSAPP. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- Morency, Christopher (September 29, 2016). "The Unlikely Success of Virgil Abloh". The Business of Fashion. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "Virgil Abloh teases a rug from Ikea and Off-White collaboration". Curbed. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
- "Virgil Abloh Gives a Master Class on His IKEA Collaboration Design Process | Architectural Digest". Architectural Digest. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
- Leach, Alec (August 30, 2017). "Why Does Virgil Abloh Put Everything in "QUOTES?"". Highsnobiety. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
- Madsen, Susanne (June 16, 2017). "Virgil Abloh on getting political with Jenny Holzer". Dazed. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- Mak, Hunter (December 1, 2017). "Virgil Abloh & Jenny Holzer Create T-Shirt for Planned Parenthood". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- "Louis Vuitton Appoints Virgil Abloh As Its New Menswear Designer". Harper's BAZAAR. March 26, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Virgil Abloh Debuts First-Ever Louis Vuitton Men's Collection At Fashion Week in Paris Omari White, newsweek.com 6/21/18
- V is for Virgil: Abloh makes debut for Louis Vuitton in Paris Scarlett Conlon, theguardian.com 21 June 2018
- Virgil Abloh Writes New Chapter at Louis Vuitton Joelle Diderich, Women's Wear Daily, June 20, 2018
- "Of Course Rihanna Is the First to Wear Virgil Abloh's Louis Vuitton". Vogue. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
- Playboi Carti, Steve Lacy, and More Musicians Who Walked Virgil Abloh’s First Louis Vuitton Show Rachel Hahn, Vogue, June 21, 2018
- GHANA’S VIRGIL ABLOH LEADING A REVOLUTION WITH OFF WHITE St. Hilary's Magazine, December 15, 2019