Fashion / Fashion Feature

The most memorable moments of Virgil Abloh’s career

Virgil Abloh memorable moments

“Life is so short you can't waste even a day subscribing to what someone thinks you can do versus knowing what you can do." Before Virgil Abloh passed at the young age of 41 he had already rattled off enough paradigm-shifting quotes to last a regular person a lifetime. This was the power of Abloh's gift – to somehow know it all. Not literally, of course, but spiritually and artistically it felt as though often he was operating at a frequency much higher than everyone else.

 

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A year after his death rocked the fashion industry and world at large, we are looking back at the impact of the seminal creative who influenced almost every corner of the fashion, design, art, and music world. Abloh was "the culture" he often referenced ad a focal point for young emerging designers and creatives, especially BIPOC folks. His legacy leaves behind a life and body of work that was rooted in a boundary breaking mindset, forward thinking, prolific collaboration, mentorship, friendship, recontextualisation, and a pioneering viewpoint that lifted the industry up and propelled it forward with his genius.

Below, we look back at some of Virgil Abloh's most memorable career moments, from his internship at Fendi to his emotional Louis Vuitton debut.

 

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Fendi internship, 2009

Rewind to Rome in 2009 and you'll find a young, hungry Virgil Abloh who had recently completed a master's degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. The young designer joined friend and collaborator at the time, Kanye West in Rome to intern for the luxury Italian house which was then owned by CEO Michael Burke. Burke went on to later work for Louis Vuitton, where he played an instrumental role in selecting Abloh as the men's artistic director of the House in 2018. Reflecting on the time, Burke said: "I paid them 500 dollars a month! I was really impressed by the news they brought to the studio, they were disruptive in the best sense of the term."

Pyrex Vision, 2012

Before Off-White was born, Abloh launched Pyrex Vision, a streetwear company that acted as the launchpad for Abloh's distinctive identity in the fashion landscape and put him more officially on the map, especially since they screen printed football jersey's with the Pyrex Vision logo and sold them for a markup that brought critics to their knees. It was also one of the first clear examples of Virgil's astute understanding of the language of hype culture and streetwear, telling Complex back in 2013 that Pyrex Vision was “a representation of the importance of youth culture. The now. It’s basically my manifesto on my upbringing. Putting my idea in a unique way so that kids can participate. I just wanna start a brand that inspires and is geared towards youth. The internet generation, these kids that you see here today. It is all for them.”

 

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Off-White™, 2013

In 2013, Abloh scrapped Pyrex Vision after just one year and turned it into Off-White™, which would go on to become one of the most revered modern fashion labels of our generation. At the helm of the brand, Abloh blurred the lines between luxury fashion and streetwear with its use of Helvetica font, signature quotation marks, zip ties and utility belts. Part of the brands DNA, so it would make sense that as Off-White™ evolved, Abloh would go on to collaborate with high profile brands like IKEA, Rimowa, Byredo and Nike to name a few.

Earlier in the year, LVMH became parent investor in the company.

 

Nike The Ten collaboration, 2017

For perhaps his most memorable and successful collaboration ever, Abloh teamed up with Nike, where he reimagined ten of the most iconic sneakers of the 20th century which upon launch sold out almost immediately and went on to resale for unfathomable amounts. The Ten quickly catapulted Abloh towards global recognition, and saw his relationship with Nike evolve into one that frequently worked on capsule's for ready to wear and footwear.

 

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Louis Vuitton, 2018

In 2018, Abloh was named artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, succeeding Kim Jones as the first black designer at the luxury French house. While his tenure at Vuitton was consistently making headlines, there are few moments that compare to his debut collection in 2018, where 3,000 students, industry regulars, and celebrities witnessed Abloh's vision fully realised upon a rainbow runway in the middle of the Tuileries in Paris, after of which he took to instagram to post about the show with the simple caption: "you can do it too". Abloh flipped everything on its head, ushering in a new, dynamic era for Louis Vuitton under the stewardship of Black excellence.

 

 

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