Creative Superstar Virgil Abloh Has Died. A Look Back At Some of His Contributions.

virgil abloh's creative contributions IIHIH
photo Robert Maxwell for GQ, 2016

Along with much of the world, we are saddened and shocked to have learned of the passing of beloved creative superstar Virgil Abloh yesterday at age 41 from cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare cancer. Few knew he was ill during his two year battle with the disease.

virgil abloh passes away
photo: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

A Look Back At Virgil Abloh’s Creative Contributions

The man whose contributions to fashion, style and design are too numerous to mention in entirety was born in Rockford, IL in 1980 to Ghanaian parents. Abloh grew up in the outskirts of Chicago and obtained a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002 before going on to study architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

He began working for an architecture firm for two years after college but then decided to shift his focus to fashion in 2009. He founded RSVP Gallery, an art gallery and menswear boutique in Chicago. That same year, he joined Kanye West’s creative agency Donda as creative director, overseeing projects like stage shows and concert merchandise.

His Off-White collaboration with Futura for Nike brought Virgil Abloh tons of Sneakerheads as fans

In 2013 he founded and ran the Milan-based streetwear label Off-White, was named a LVMH prize finalist in 2015, and was then appointed Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton menswear in 2018, the first LVMH finalist to take on a major design role in an LVMH brand.

Louis Vuitton’s 2019 Spring Menswear collection marked Virgil’s debut as the brand’s Artistic Director

An emotional moment between Virgil Abloh and Kanye West after Abloh’s debut show for LV:

We previously featured his beautifully color-coded space for the Men’s Temporary Residence, a Louis Vuitton Pop-Up store in Paris.

louis vuitton pop-up store

He’s also collaborated with well-known artists such as Takashi Murakami on the “Future History” exhibition at Gagosian Gallery; and designed a t-shirt with artist Jenny Holzer to raise money for Planned Parenthood.

Abloh and Takashi Murakami
Abloh and Takashi Murakami collaborated on the exhibition “Future History” at Gagosian Gallery in London. Photo by Fabien Montique
virgil abloh jenny holzer
Virgil Abloh collaborated with artist Jenny Holzer to produce T-shirts that were commission by Sexy Beast to raise money for Planned Parenthood

Alongside running his fashion brand and consulting, Abloh DJ’d under the alias Flat-White.

He was an ongoing collaborating designer for innumerable brands ranging from Braun and Moet Chandon to Evian and IKEA.

Virgil Abloh's custom-designed bottle of Moët’s iconic Nectar Imperial Rosé.
Virgil Abloh’s custom-designed bottle of Moët’s iconic Nectar Imperial Rosé. photo: Moet Chandon

Abloh worked alongside the House of Moët & Chandon to develop a radical all-white take on its classic gold-labeled rosé. Each bottle bares the designer’s signature “DO NOT DROP” styling while showcasing the Champagne’s prominence and collectors-edition designation.

Abloh was commissioned by Braun to reimagine what was considered the best audio device of its time, their 1961 wall-mounted Wandanlage hi-fi system, originally designed by the legendary Deiter Rams.

virgi abloh for braun
60 years later, Virgil Abloh reimagines Braun’s Wandanlage for 2021, photo: Braun

MARKERAD, a limited edition collection for IKEA designed in collaboration with Virgil Abloh updated a range of everyday products with his inimitable style of labeling objects with words.

abloh sculpture bag for IKEA
Abloh’s sculpture bag for IKEA, photo: IKEA
the MARKERAD collection for IKEA by Virgil Abloh
the MARKERAD collection for IKEA by Virgil Abloh

In 2020 he launched an exclusive HOME collection on 1st Dibs. 82 pieces ranging from toothbrushes to deckchairs to doormats to wallpaper to wooden doorstoppers (an iconic item that has become an Abloh trademark).

The HOME collection by Virgil Abloh for 1st Dibs
The HOME collection by Virgil Abloh for 1st Dibs, photo: 1st Dibs

“Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself” – Virgil Abloh

The man was even been immortalized as a vinyl figure for the Fashion Designer Authors Series by toy designer Danil Yad and MightyJaxx (sold out everywhere, you may be able to find some on ebay)

Virgil Abloh and Vinyl figure
photo courtesy of Danil Yad
virgil abloh action figure
photo courtesy of Danil Yad

He was a visionary, the present day Karl Lagerfeld, who had it all and shared it all with us: taste, design, innovation, style, discipline and beauty.

Virgil Abloh, 2019 photo: David Kasnic for The New York Times
Virgil Abloh, 2019 photo: David Kasnic for The New York Times

Encouraging future generations, he launched the Virgil Abloh™️ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund in 2020, raising over $1 million designated for scholarships.

A fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother, and friend. He is survived by his loving wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh, and numerous dear friends and colleagues.

virgil abloh in memoriam
photo: Business of Fashion

Our hearts and sympathies go out to all his friends and family. May he forever rest in peace.