The Life & Work of Virgil Abloh

Virgil Abloh was an American artist and fashion designer who tragically passed away from cancer on Sunday November 28 2021. He was best known as the CEO and founder of the luxury brand Off-White, but was also a creative director for Louis Vuitton and worked closely with many musicians and other artists like Kanye West as a creative director. His creative mind and ability to create art out of the most mundane made him internationally famous, even more than is common for big time fashion designers. He worked in fashion, architecture, music, movie and set production, branding and iconography, as well as graphic and painted artistry during his career. His representation in so many different categories has made him one of the most influential black creatives of all time. As someone who’s always admired art from afar, but was never sure I was capable of making any myself, Abloh was always one of personal heroes that showed me that creativity can come from anywhere. One of my favorite projects of his was his “Nothing New” campaign, that he launched from Off-White in 2017. He was criticized heavily when he first launched the company, and was frowned upon by a lot of prominent white designers that had been in fashion at houses far older and more established than him. Raf Simons made a dig at Abloh and his brand, calling it nothing new in a press article. Abloh took this phrase, added his signature quotation marks, screen printed it over black and white copy of the Mona Lisa, and made it the cover of his spring campaign. The combination of new techniques and styles and renditions of classic art and styles has always been the backbone of Abloh’s work. This has always been a style that I admire, and his work has always served as a reminder that art doesn’t need to be brand new nor completely fit tradition to be beautiful. True creativity comes from expression and inspiration, not feeling the need to fit any particular mold.

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