Words by Suraya Kazzuz
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name, Louis Vuitton? Perhaps a brown leather handbag or suitcase, or maybe the ever-recognisable LV logo. Louis Vuitton is a two-hundred-year-old fashion house: an institution synonymous with tradition. To be the person that takes on the task to revolutionise such a long-standing brand must have the ability to speak to and for the moment.
Enter Virgil Abloh. Often revered as a Renaissance man, a maker. Abloh’s creative talent seems perhaps destined due to his parents’ careers, his mother a seamstress, his father a painter. It is no surprise that alongside studying for a master’s degree in architecture, Abloh began designing T-shirts and writing for a well-known fashion and design blog. Artistic director of albums, creative director of multiple fashion houses, collaborator with the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z and Takashi Murakami, as well as the founder of his own renowned fashion house, Off-White. Abloh has moved through the fashion industry with power and impact.
At the core of Abloh’s creative endeavours was an ability to speak to the youth. He has been described as the Karl Lagerfeld of our generation and made an equally impressive impact to that of the late Chanel designer in his short time on earth. In his commentary on Abloh for Times, Murakami discusses the impact of Abloh’s work:
“Off-White, is not a passing trend; rather, it shows how Virgil’s young followers, with their unclouded eyes, have been seeing right into the core of his creativity all along.”
When such a man speaks to the youth with profundity, their absence is noted. Abloh, although already young, having died at the age of 41, felt much more youthful than he was. The first Black creative director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh, stands as proof to young POC, to Black men and women, that the industry can be accessible. Through each of his collections, he proved his talent, his creative integrity. Abloh was part of a movement: inviting streetwear into the realms of high fashion. Proving that the popular styles of the youth belonged in and amongst the traditional highfalutin styles, which have pervaded the fashion industry for decades.
Abloh has undoubtedly left his mark on the world – this is all proven in the overwhelming show of grief and celebration following his death. His final post-humous show had an extremely high turnout and has been revered as one of his most successful yet. His presence during his short time in the world is creatively impressive. His influence has been paramount, and his legacy will stand the test of time.