Just last year, Virgil Abloh peaked in his status as a fashion icon by announcing his appointment as Men’s Artistic Director at Louis Vuitton. Just a few months into his reign, he’s already attracted an increased amount of interest for the brand. His first show at Paris Fashion Week features an array of celebrity guests and high-profile influencers all there to support the designer. So, who is Virgil Abloh and what has helped him transform into fashion hopeful to global icon?
Abloh has always has a creative streak, rising to prominence after a long career of DJ-ing at exclusive clubs and events. It was during this time that he became a Creative Director for Kanye West before launching his own fashion label, Off-White.
Fundamentally, Abloh’s brand involves reimagining everyday accessories and clothing with added detail and structure. He claims he start the brand with the idea to change preconceptions of what a typical fashion designer should act like. Since then, he’s been open and transparent about his creative process, sharing snippets of the design stages with his millions of followers. This has influenced an influx of brands trying to emulate his success, from gym apparel brands to athleisure wear. This has propelled his brand to new heights, becoming a millennial household name.
In 2018, Evian scouted Abloh to help oversee their creative design and innovation in sustainability, for new generations and beyond. He’s always been an ambassador for sustainability, making ethical choices in the manufacturing of his own clothing brand – so this move makes perfect sense. In a statement Abloh said, “Evian is an iconic brand with a strong heritage in fashion and creativity. Its sustainability ambitions align with my own, together we can push boundaries and explore new areas of revolution”. This comes at a time where many other brands are evaluating their practices to become more sustainable.
After rumours of him joining several fashion brand surfaced, it came to somewhat of a surprise that he was to join Louis Vuitton. He launched his very first Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2019 collection last year. The first viewing of his exclusive collection was in a pop-up store in Mayfair, London. In the first 3 months of his role at Louis Vuitton, the leather goods arm of the label grew by a staggering 16%. This is a good indication of what the future holds for Abloh, and it’s looking bright.
Featuring an array of colours and motifs, Abloh’s debut collection was everything he said it would be. With some questioning how he would balance his work at Off-White with Louis Vuitton, there were answers within his collection that certainly paid tribute to his own label. With even the most simple of garments subjected to skilled craftsmanship throughout the manufacturing process, it’s no wonder that his formula for Louis Vuitton is working as his pieces fly off the immaculately polished shelves.
His most admired pieces including the iconic double breasted blazers and the loose-fit pants. Celebrities have already been spotted in pieces from his collection, including Timothée Chalamet who was one of the first to wear his monochromatic suit at the Golden Globes.
Aside from his work as a fashion designer, Abloh received his first major award in 2011 when he was recognised for his work in designing the album artwork cover for the Watch The Throne album by Jay Z and Kanye West. It was nominated for a Grammy for Best Recording Package.
As he begun to make his mark on the fashion world, Abloh was given the Urban Luxe award at the 2017 British Fashion Awards. Later, in 2018, he was listed in Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
It’s evident that Virgil Abloh certainly isn’t an icon of style by accident. His growth from working with Kanye West to owning his own fashion label was a steady, yet cleverly executed move.