Fashion Forward - Virgil Abloh
Last month, Virgil Abloh made history when he was hired as Louis Vuitton’s first African-American artistic director. The Ghanaian-American DJ, stylist and fashion designer brings groundbreaking diversity to the brand as he takes charge of their menswear collection. At 37 years old, his first line with the company will premiere at Men’s Fashion Week in Paris this June.
Originally an aspiring architect, Abloh studied civil engineering and architecture in college. He held a position in an architecture firm before moving toward the fashion industry. In 2006, he landed an internship at Fendi where he worked with Kanye West. He soon became West’s creative director, responsible for concert merchandise and stage production. The young visionary is known for combining streetwear and luxury, adamant that “high fashion” should be available to everyone.
Abloh’s portfolio includes work with huge brands like Champion, Vans, Jimmy Choo, Ikea, and Nike. His own luxury streetwear company, Off-White, is donned by Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and A$AP Rocky. The company was even a finalist for the LVMH Young Designers Prize. Louis Vuitton jumped on board with high fashion streetwear last year, when they launched a partnership with skateboarding brand Supreme. This trend is expected to continue and flourish under Abloh’s command.
In an interview with New York Times, the designer announced that he plans to reassess “how [Louis Vuitton] communicated with its consumers, including the release of products, the runway show, and the way it interacted with the global political mood.” According to The RealReal, online searches for Louis Vuitton rose by 64% after Abloh’s new position was announced. He is anticipated to revolutionize the fashion industry, with his promotion of street style and his endorsement of black artists.