The Rise of Virgil Abloh

On the 21st of June 2018, swarms of celebrities descended on Paris and made their way to the gardens of the Palais-Royale. There they were greeted by sunshine, a rainbow runway and a dictionary that provides a detailed definition and concept behind each of the designs, perched on their seat. The man behind the intellectual and design metamorphosis of Louis Vuitton’s menswear is Ghanaian-American, Virgil Abloh. You may have heard whispers about him or skimped over a reference to his work in the fashion pages, but this man is one of the greatest success stories of 2018, although his fascinating story starts almost a decade ago. The son of immigrants Abloh attended Boylan Catholic High School and earned a degree in civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later received his Master of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. With a flair for design and innovation, as well as an intense interest in style it didn’t take long for Abloh to venture into the fashion industry and so in 2012 he founded Off-White, an Italian streetwear and luxury fashion label. As an upcomer and even to this day the designer’s qualifications are often questioned since he never attended fashion school, an old-fashioned and narrowed minded approach to the idea of creativity and innovation. A criticism the designer has clearly crushed through his overwhelming achievements.  Abloh some would have you believe is the modern-day fairy tale caught up in a whirlwind rise to fame, however this is not strictly true. He is however the poster child for patience, determination, dedication and an unwavering work ethic. The pinnacle of that work ethic was evident as in March this year one of the fashion world’s most illustrious houses, Louis Vuitton, named him creative head, an incredible achievement until you realise he is the first African-American to ever hold the position, earning him a well-deserved place in the history books. The 38-year-old father of two holds many titles husband, father, engineer, architect, DJ and finally designer, but he prefers not to be labelled and we can understand why. Abloh has never defined himself by titles, and instead has allowed his process and journey to be more fluid and kept himself open to possibilities, a trait we could all easily implement within our own lives. From running a hugely successful hip-hop night at an upmarket wine bar during his college years to an internship at Fendi and launching his own label all while acquiring a masters degree, it would appear that Virgil Abloh is the captain of this ship and we’re just along for the ride, and in truth we cannot wait to see where he’s taking us next!