In case you have been out of the loop recently you will have heard that LVMH named Virgil Abloh as the new artistic director of Louis Vuitton during Paris Men’s Fashion Week.
Virgil abloh has been on LVMH’s radar for years now. Besides being nominated for their prizes twice, he is also rumored to have helped broker the deal between the brand and Supreme. Since that collaboration, it seems that LVMH has not only taken interest in the leaders of streetwear but also being at the forefront of fashion, which at the moment is all about streetwear and rap. Last year, Gucci was the most searched fashion brand after Fashionnova. Both brands are notable due to their influences on social media and in hip hop music. It seems like the old heads of fashion are finally realizing that in order to stay relevant, they can no longer dictate taste. They have to listen to the streets and work with them if they want to be part of the culture as it pushes forward. As a champion for culture and taste, LVMH was smart to put Virgil Abloh at its creative helm.
Virgil Abloh can be described as many things in his professional life; fashion designer, creative director, DJ, filmmaker, tastemaker and the list goes on. Our favorite word for him is disrupter.
It’s hard to define a man who found a way to take his wealth of ideas and bring each of them to life no matter what the genre or medium happens to be. With all of his creative projects, lines can always be drawn back to fashion, which is completely unintentional. He told Dazed magazine in 2016, “I never made the conscious decision to be a designer. I just had an exorbitant amount of ideas; fashion design is a place for people like that.”
It has been written time and again that Virgil Abloh has a master’s degree in architecture. The seemingly unrelated field inspired him to think about fashion as he says that watching a Rem Koolhaas building go up as he completed his degree inspired him to look into fashion as a medium.
From the beginning of his professional life, Abloh’s trajectory in the spotlight has been closely tied to one of music’s biggest and most famous disrupters, Yeezus himself. Abloh reported skipped his final critique to meet with Kanye’s manager. Since then, he’s had a say in almost every creative product with the Kanye’s signature on it. They took an internship together at Fendi in 2009 before taking their creativity and making something of their own. He has a managing role at DONDA, West’s creative agency that does everything from album covers to guerilla marketing campaigns. He also worked on the film that West debuted at Cannes, Cruel Summer, Watch the Throne tour merch, staging and artwork. His influence rose parallel to Kanye’s, but his solo work is just as notable and is exactly what caught the attention of the fashion community and held it even after interest in Yeezy lines began to wane.
His first fashion project took place under the brand name Pyrex in 2012, where he took deadstock Ralph Lauren flannels and reimagined them as streetwear. Ever moving and evolving, Virgil poured his innovation into Off-White in 2013 where the construction motifs run rampant to this day. The brand was only a year old when it began showing at Paris fashion week and was nominated for an LVMH prize. Since then he has been a staple on the backs of models and influencers whether on the runway or the side walk. His career has been impressive, and he has always done things his own way. Even after Off-White gained steam in popular culture after Beyoncé notably wore one of his pieces in the “Feeling Myself” video alongside Nicki Minaj, it was always seen as more than just streetwear. In 2015 it was a finalist for the LVMH Young Designers prize.
Virgil Abloh has definitely made a place for himself in the fashion world and he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He is only the third black man to head a French fashion house after Olivier Roustieng of Balmain and Ozwald Boateng who was the head of design at Givenchy between 2003 and 2007.Like his predecessors, his stamp has been made on the world of fashion and like everything else in the industry, what that means continues to morph as he influences fashion and fashion influences him.