The founder of the iconic fashion brand Off-White, Virgil Abloh, recently lost his battle with cancer at the age of 41. Abloh was the first African American to serve as artistic director for Louis Vuitton and was known for his groundbreaking approach to fashion.

His family recently concluded a statement saying that he had been privately battling cardiac angiosarcoma, a deadly heart cancer, since 2019.

“Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself…believing deeply in the power of art to inspire future generations.”

Virgil, who also worked in Chicago street fashion, entered the international fashion world during his internship at Fendi in 2009, alongside Kanye West. The two then began an artistic collaboration that would launch Abloh’s career into founding Off-White. Based in Milan, the company was described by Virgil as “the gray area between black and white as off-white” to investors and fashion critics. By the end of 2018, an index of sales and consumer sentiment concluded that Off-White was officially the hottest label in the world, surpassing Gucci at the time.

Virgil created a custom Off-White gown and veil for Hailey Bieber’s wedding day. His famous quotation marks design said: “till death do us part,” on the veil. Virgil eventually sold a 60% stake in Off-White to LVMH this past year, allowing him to become one of the most potent Black executives in the fashion industry. 

In 2018, he was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2020 he raised $1 million through the contemporary “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund to help Black students pursue fashion jobs. 

In 2019, Virgil was appointed to the board of directors of The Council of Fashion Designers of America. 


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Through his genius creative skills and kind soul, Abloh has left an everlasting impact on the fashion industry and laid the framework for a new generation of Black creators all across the globe. 

Abloh’s final menswear Spring Summer 2022 collection for Louis Vuitton continued as planned on Tuesday, November 30, in Miami as one of a series of one-off shows, as part of the Art Basel fair, as a tribute to the designer.

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