It is with great sadness that we learned this November 28 the death of Virgil Abloh. Carried away by a rare form of cancer at the age of 41, the designer leaves a great void. Many of the Kikikickz team have nurtured their passion for sneakers thanks to the Chicagoan. Footwear designer of genius, Abloh had many other hats and as many achievements, deeply marking the history of the fashion and sneaker industries. Let's take a look at the itinerary of a prodigy.
From Kanye West to Off-White, a meteoric rise
An architecture graduate, Virgil Abloh made a name for himself in the early 2000s on the Chicago scene thanks to his hobbies as a DJ and stylist. He then met a certain Kanye West, of whom he became one of the right-hand men. With him, he completed a founding internship at Fendi, after which he left his profession to open the RSVP Gallery concept store in Chicago in 2009, which was immediately popular with the cool kids.
His career took a new turn in 2011, when he won a Grammy for his art direction of Ye's collaborative album with Jay-Z "Watch The Throne". The following year, he made a dramatic entrance into fashion. His label PYREX VISION only lasted for one collection, but it was so successful that it was launched. In 2013 he created the brand Off-White, which will establish him as a designer.
The designer who shook up luxury
With its wide cuts, brandings and XXL prints, Off-White disrupted luxury and embodied the streetwear wave that was sweeping the catwalks at the time. A finalist for the 2015 LVMH prize, Abloh's stock rose and he opened the doors to collaborations. In 2017, he signed "The Ten" collection with Nike, a reinvention of ten iconic silhouettes whose singular design seduced sneakerheads and attracted new ones.
A year later, he was promoted as artistic director of the Men's collections at Louis Vuitton. He became the first African-American designer to hold this prestigious position at the French fashion house. His first collections made him the first major black designer to be recognized internationally.
A lasting impression
In addition to having sealed the streetwear x luxury link with Off-White and then LV, Virgil Abloh has marked the history of the sneaker by propelling it as a social phenomenon. A prolific, not to say frenetic, collaborator, he has allied himself with various and varied entities, from IKEA to Evian to Baccarat, for as many successes. Enough to set himself up as a great symbol of hype.
In 2019, the creator had evoked a health concern, cancelling all his public performances for a few months. While the pace had since slowed, he continued to craft sneakers with Nike and memorable collections with Vuitton, only letting his parallel struggle with a terrible illness show.
What is your greatest memory of Virgil Abloh?
Today, all the actors of the fashion world, but also more widely of the street culture for which he worked so hard, pay him vibrant tributes.
What will you remember about Virgil Abloh? Which Nike sneaker has made the biggest impression on you? Know that a collection "The 20" with the Swoosh is still in the pipeline, and that the designer will continue to make news...