Virgil Abloh, king of streetwear, founder of Off-White and the men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton, has sadly passed away at age 41 on November 28, from a “rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma.” Cites the beloved designer's Instagram account.
Abloh, the prodigal child of fashions new guard, will be remembered best for his ability to bring the concept of streetwear into a luxury lens, and offer a new way forward for an industry bound to tradition. He was one of the few Black designers at the helm of a historic, luxury house, and a creative mind like few others in the fashion landscape. Famed for his reinterpretation of the term "creative director", Abloh made it clear that he was "not a designer", but a facilitator of innovation, community, expression, and creativity in an industry that is often calcified in rigidity.
Abloh had battled cardiac angiosarcoma since a diagnosis in 2019, according to the Instagram statement, “undergoing numerous challenging treatments.” In September 2019, the designer said he was taking a break from a gruelling work schedule following doctor’s orders, cancelling several events and appearances during that period.
“We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh, a fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother, and friend,” read the statement on Abloh’s account. His wife Shannon Abloh and two children will remember him as the multifaceted person he was.
In a statement, Bernard Arnault, LVMH chairman and chief executive officer, described Abloh as a “genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom.”
“The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother or their friend,” he said.
As one of the most prolific faces of fashion in our era, Abloh will be dearly missed by all who were affected by his tireless work ethic, devotion to his craft, and unending creative drive that saw the industry itself bend to the will of his genius. By opening the doors to luxury for his fans, he created a sub-universe in the fashion landscape for direct engagement and community like no one else.
“You can do it too” read the caption under his first Instagram post after his Louis Vuitton debut, and words to remember him by as we reflect on the news today.