Wall Breaking Designer Virgil Abloh Dead at 41

Staff Writer: Mitchell Dokos

Virgil Abloh

September 30, 1980 – November 28, 2021

Virgil Abloh, the highly influential designer, died at 41 on November 28. He was fighting a rare and aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma. For nearly two years he fought this battle in private while still running many of his institutions of culture, fashion, and art.

Photo Credit: Luke Leitch
Virgil discussing his influences

Virgil showed no change in his mission to change society’s perception of art. He opened the door for thousands of other designers, showing them the power of art. Virgil has deeply impacted modern culture, and the way many create art is thanks to him. He has inspired future generations, leading the way into his own art style. High school senior Shawn Mires commented, “For me Virgil’s brands and overall art style really stuck to me, I feel I wouldn’t dress the way I do if not for him.”

To Virgil, clothing plays a key role in identity. He had designed hundreds of pieces showing the world that luxury can be whatever we want it to be. Virgil changed what was possible in fashion. His controversial pieces did not stop him. He did what he loved and redefined fashion as a whole. Believing that art plays a significant role in everyone’s identity and personality, Virgil stated, “Everything I do is for my 17-year-old version of myself.”

Virgil was Louis Vuitton’s first black lead artistic designer. Luis Vuitton LVMH chairman, Bernald Arnault commented, “Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom.

Virgil pushed every piece to be better than the last; his optimism and strength outshines most today. He has inspired millions of people to describe themselves with the clothes they wear and the art they consume.

If not for Virgil, our culture as we know it today would be vastly different. Virgil is one of the most influential artists of our time. Life as we know it has been forever changed because of Abloh.

Virgil founded his company, Off-White, in 2012 and since then it has grown to be one of the most successful luxury brands of our time. Collaborating with big names like Nike and Converse, Off-White has truly made a name for itself.

Although Virgil found success in fashion, he originally studied civil engineering at Wisconsin-Madison and received a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. His mother, a tailor, taught him the basics of fashion design.

Photo Credit: Virgil Abloh
Virgil And His Family Enjoying Disneyland Together

Many celebrities are mourning this great loss and sending their condolences to the family after Abloh’s wife had announced Sunday that he had passed due to his illness. Many paid their respects Sunday, including Pharrell Williams, Quavo, and Lenny Kravitz. Drake stated, “My plan is to touch the sky 1000 more times for you…love you eternally brother… thank you for everything.”

Many students are also sending their prayers to the family. High school senior John Callahan stated, “Virgil was a huge inspiration to the way I dress and how I go about seeing fashion, truly a huge loss.”

Virgil was also a family-oriented man. “He is survived by his wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh,” stated on his Instagram announcing his tragic death. His family is thanking all for the love and support they are being given and asked for privacy in their time of grief.

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