A true pioneer

Virgil Abloh, the trailblazing creative director of Off-White, has died
By Bailey Slater | Fashion | 29 November 2021

Tributes have poured in across the fashion industry following the news of Virgil Abloh’s passing this Sunday.

The American designer was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer called cardiac angiosarcoma back in 2019, opting to battle his illness privately while still championing a vast range of artistic passions, including raising over $1 million in design scholarships to support Black American creatives.

As the first Black artistic director at Louis Vuitton himself, Abloh was more than one of the biggest names in contemporary fashion, he was a trailblazer. A civil engineer, turned architect, turned streetwear savant, he wore many hats, including that of an intern during a six-month stint at Fendi with Kanye West, one of his most prolific collaborators who would later appoint him as the creative head of Donda.

Three years later, in 2012, Abloh started a label named “PYREX VISION” (which would later evolve into Off-White), pulling from the music and art world’s to create a space for his graphic, sometimes quotation mark emblazoned, designs to rule uninhibited throughout the next decade.

In fact, it would be hard to pinpoint any of the major fashion/pop culture crossovers comprising the 2010s that didn’t have his graphic stamp hidden somewhere in the mix. From A$AP Rocky album cover designs to co-founding the ‘Been Trill’ collective that spawned legends out of Matthew Williams (now at Givenchy) and Heron Preston, the cross-pollination of Abloh’s expansive vision into fields beyond fashion will be studied for years to come.

Abloh is survived by his wife Shannon, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh, and the many friends, colleagues and fans that cherished each cultural foray into the future.

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