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Remembering Acclaimed Fashion Designer Virgil Abloh, A True Visionary With Chicago Ties

CBS Chicago
CBS Chicago
 2021-11-30

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Tributes continued to pour in Monday night for famed fashion designer and Illinois native Virgil Abloh .

You may recognize his name or you may not, but you have certainly seen his creations – and you may have worn them too.

Abloh was the first Black man named an artistic director at Louis Vuitton. He was a visionary with Chicago ties, who lost his battle of cancer here at just 41 years old on Sunday.

“Those things that hold you back from sort of executing on your dream are myths,” Abloh once said.

His designs were on the covers of magazines, down the wedding aisle, and even on the tennis court.

Abloh was born and raised in Rockford. He was the son of immigrant parents from Ghana.

Abloh graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago with a master’s degree ion architecture. It was his collaborations with Chicago rapper Kanye West that skyrocketed him to fame.

“I hope that through my narrative, people see that in themselves that anything is achievable, and different genres are just made to be jumped over,” Abloh once said.

Just months ago, Abloh became the most powerful Black executive at one of the world’s most powerful luxury brands when his own label, Off-White, was acquitted by Louis Vuitton’s parent company.

He wanted to make sure the next generation followed in his fashion footsteps – creating a $1 million scholarship fund to bring more Black students into the fashion industry.

“Let’s make that the world that we wanted to see,” Abloh once said, “I’m legitimately like, who can we empower next?”

Abloh was best known for his menswear, but his work stretched into furniture and vehicle design as well.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago even held an exhibit of his work back in 2019.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

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