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Fashion Oct 5, 2020

Designer Spotlight: Who is Virgil Abloh?

Virgil Abloh is no stranger to the world of business, fashion, art and design.  He breaks boundaries of design every day as a multi-talented entrepreneur and an all-round creative.

Fashion and luxury streetwear

In 2018 Virgil became the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection. However, he has also pioneered his own brand and is the CEO of the Milan-based label Off-White, a fashion house he founded in 2013.

Virgil continues to set new trends in fashion. Over the past decade, he has risen to fame with his influence in luxury streetwear. On the runway, Virgil is acclaimed in the area of high-end street fashion, or what he has called the “post-streetwear movement,” with roots in the classic streetwear that originated in hip-hop and skating culture.

His brand Off White, has also opened many doors for the designer as he launched collaborations with big brands including Nike. In 2019, he was also appointed to the board of directors of The Council of Fashion Designers of America. The council seeks to promote the American fashion industry

A man of influence

Virgil was born in 1980 in Rockford, Illinois. He is the son of Ghanaian immigrants.  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. In 2006, he received his Master of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).

Virgil’s creative passions have culminated in his work in differing industries. As a trained architect, he entered the world of international fashion with an internship at Fendi in 2009 alongside rapper Kanye West. The two then began an artistic collaboration that would launch Virgil’s career into founding Off-White.

He also became the first American of African descent to become artistic director at a French luxury fashion house. He was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2018.

Markerad – a furniture collab with IKEA

Virgil also partnered up with the Swedish furniture company IKEA to design furniture for apartments and houses. He created a range of easy to carry tote bags imprinted with sculptures in the middle. This limited edition collection was named Markerad, which is a Swedish word meaning “clear-cut; crisp; pronounced”, and was released in 2019.

Together they’ve updated a range of everyday objects – from clocks to chairs – with the kind of striking style that can help any home stand out.


Virgil’s influence does not end there as he has also worked in collaboration with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. He was also given a solo art show in Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki art gallery in Tokyo, Japan. The pair collaborated on a series of exhibitions in London, Paris and Beverly Hills in 2018.

What’s to come?

From furniture and streetwear to architecture and art – is there anything Virgil Abloh cannot do? We’ll have to wait and see what he will do next!




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