The death of Virgil Abloh takes a toll on the fashion world


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Virgil Abloh, most recently the men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton, died Sunday, November 28 after a private battle with cancer. Abloh, who developed the streetwear-focused luxury label Off-White and served as Kanye West’s long-term creative director, rose to the prestigious position of artistic director at Louis Vuitton in 2018, making him the brand’s first African-American artistic director. His heart-rending death continues to negatively impact those who have had the pleasure of working with him, as well as those who remain inspired by him.

Erinn Gardner, Reporter

Virgil Abloh, the first black artistic director for Louis Vuitton and founder of the brand “Off-White” died Sunday, November 28th of Cardiac Angiosarcoma, an aggressive form of heart cancer. Known for his disruption in the fashion industry, the barrier-breaking designer transformed the heights of traditional fashion. With menswear designs that blurred the distinctions between high fashion and streetwear, Abloh pushed artistic boundaries that defied gender standards. This unique approach attracted a younger demographic to Louis Vuitton. The prominent fashion icon’s broad and sometimes contentious perspective to design influenced a vast number of individuals.

“Fashion is one of the greatest vehicles to merge music, art, architecture, design, typography. It’s a wide enough canvas, or a big enough sandbox, to touch all the different things that I’m into,” Abloh said. 

His inventiveness not only allowed him to design shoes and garments but also to incorporate countless forms of art, philosophy and music in his creations. Consequently, Abloh frequently collaborated with brands ranging from Nike to Evian, designed looks for famous supermodels like Kendall Jenner and possessed numerous exhibits nationwide. 

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Abloh’s death took a major toll on a variety of influencers, musicians, actors, athletes and artists who have had the pleasure of working with him. For example, Kanye West’s response to his close friend’s death resulted in him deleting every single post on his Instagram. Since 2007, Abloh and West have worked on several projects together, including the artistic direction of Donda, West’s latest album. While several artists like West responded with silence, numerous celebrities (supermodels in particular) wrote verbose tributes in honor of his memory. 

“I can’t believe I’m writing this. If you had the privilege of knowing Virgil, you were one of the lucky ones. He was the kindest, most positive, humble, joyful, and full of light person I have ever known. V taught me and all of us a very important lesson, although he knew he had only so long, he was bright, he was kind and full of love. We all need a little bit of Virgil in us. He leaves us with his influence, to create and change the world. you did just that Virg”, Kendall Jenner said. 

 Named among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2018, Abloh’s contribution to fashion left an impeccable legacy for his two beloved children and future generations to follow. Although his shoes will remain difficult to fill, his mark in the fashion industry will continue to inspire the world.