The fashion world lost one of its brightest stars today.
Virgil Abloh, Off-White founder and Louis Vuitton artistic director, passed away today at 41 after privately fighting cancer for two years. “For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma. He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture,” reads an announcement on his official Instagram page.
Abloh was a visionary who broke barriers. In a still-all-too-white fashion industry, he celebrated and championed Black culture and brought it to fashion’s highest spaces. He elevated fashion. “Fashion’s highest profile Black designer,” a Reuters post describes him. His “ascent to the heights of the traditional luxury industry changed what was possible in fashion,” writes Vanessa Friedman for the New York Times. He transformed “not just what consumers wanted to wear… but what brands wanted in a designer—and the meaning of ‘fashion’ itself.”
Many have already paid their respects to the designer.
“His kindness and energetic generosity left a lasting impression on every life he touched—he made everyone feel seen and special. He will be deeply missed, cherished, and celebrated by me and all the people and industries that have been lucky enough to work around & know the true supernova behind this man,” wrote supermodel Gigi Hadid.
Hailey Bieber, who wore an Off-White dress that Abloh designed for her wedding gown, posted a photo of the two of them. “Virgil completely changed the way I looked at street style and fashion, the way he looked at things inspired me deeply,” she wrote. “I will never be able to fully express how grateful I am to have known him and worked with him, from walking on his runways to having him design my wedding dress and all the other amazing moments in between, I felt he was always rooting for me.”
Meanwhile, some have also pointed out the similarities between Abloh and Chadwick Boseman. Boseman passed away last year after silently battling cancer. Both men were making waves in the industry and greatly impacting culture while privately struggling. Michael Cuby, editor at large for Them magazine tweeted, “Just a year after Chadwick, Virgil Abloh, another influential Black force, has been taken from us due to a private cancer battle. The resiliency these men must have had to deal with such difficult situations in complete silence, working all the way to the very end. Devastating.”
Just a year after Chadwick, Virgil Abloh, another influential Black force, has been taken from us due to a private cancer battle. The resiliency these men must have had to deal with such difficult situations in complete silence, working all the way to the very end. Devastating.