Off-White founder and Louis Vuitton menswear creative director Virgil Abloh has passed at the age of 41 after battling cancer.
Posing as one of the most influential fashion visionaries of this generation, Virgil Abloh brought two worlds together and molded the beginnings of a new era of fashion. Known for merging modern streetwear and luxury fashion with his individualistic design codes, he truly left a mark becoming the first Black creative director at Louis Vuitton’s menswear line and one of the few Black designers at the helm of French luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Additionally, Abloh and LVMH expanded their relationship earlier this year where LVMH acquired a 60% stake in Off-White with Abloh retaining 40% along with plans of new brand and product launches.
In an official statement, his family and team expressed: “For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma. He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture.
Through it all, his work ethic, infinite curiosity, and optimism never wavered. Virgil was driven by his dedication to his craft and to his mission to open doors for others and create pathways for greater equality in art and design. He often said, “Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,” believing deeply in the power of art to inspire future generations.”
LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault shared, “Virgil was not only a genius designer, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom.”
Virgil Abloh began to really make a name for himself in the fashion industry in the early 2010s, you know the Tumblr period where we saw Pyrex, Abloh’s very first brand, gracing our dashboards. He was also apart of the DJ collective-turned-brand Been Trill alongside Heron Preston, Matthew Williams, Justin Saunders, Florencia Galarza, and YWP. He later went on to launch Off-White in 2013 followed by partnering with Nike and dropping “The Ten” in 2017. Through Nike, he got the opportunity to work closely with tennis champ Serena Williams, serving as the designer behind her controversial black catsuit for the French Open and later creating an entire collection just for her during the 2018 US Open Championships. Off-White and Nike’s last drop under Abloh was a pair of Air Jordan 2 sneakers in two classic colorways.
Other notable collaborations and ventures include his Ikea partnership in 2019, an exhibition of his works at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and collaboration-exhibition with Takashi Murakami at Gagosian Gallery to name a few.
Truly one of many talents, Abloh’s resume also includes dabbling in the music industry as a DJ and creative director. His artistry has graced arguably some of the best albums of our time. He served as creative director on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne album, earning him his first-ever Grammy nomination. Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Yeezus, Kid Cudi’s WZRD, A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live.ASAP, Lil Uzi Vert’s Luv Is Rage 2, Octavian’s Spaceman, Westside Gunn’s Pray For Paris, Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, 2 Chainz’s Based on a T.R.U. Story, Pusha T’s My Name Is My Name, and Big Sean’s Dark Sky Paradise are all albums of which Abloh has created album artwork or artistically directed.
Celebrities and figures across industries have expressed their grief for the loss of their friend, partner, and creative genius that is Virgil Abloh. Refusing to conform and choosing to always execute the unthinkable despite critics, Abloh’s forward-thinking contributions, art, and overall legacy will carry on and inspire generations to come.
We send love and light to his family and friends at this time.