Virgil Abloh: Everything you need to know about Louis Vuitton's new menswear designer

Danielle Fowler
Freelance Writer
This morning, Virgil Abloh was named menswear artistic director at Louis Vuitton [Photo: Getty]

It was announced today that Virgil Abloh is set to take the reigns over at Louis Vuitton as the label’s new menswear artistic director.

Kim Jones, who recently succeeded Kris Van Assche at Dior, undoubtedly left some pretty impressive shoes to fill but 37-year-old Abloh already has a credible rep in the streetwear industry.

Kim Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011 but recently moved on to Dior [Photo: Getty]

Having run his own haute label, Off-White, for the past five years the designer has garnered an A-list fan pack which lists the Kardashian clan and Bella Hadid as groupies.

“It is an honour for me to accept the position of Men’s Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton. I find the heritage and creative integrity of the House are key inspirations and will look to reference them both while drawing parallels to modern times,” Abloh announced in a statement.

Where did Virgil Abloh study?

Virgil Abloh grew up in Rockford, Illinois, and despite his smooth rise to stardom the designer surprisingly never even studied fashion.

Instead, the 37-year-old graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in civil engineering before he pursued a master’s in architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology. And it was here, that the designer fell head over heels for the industry.

Abloh photographed alongside editor-in-chief of British Vogue, Edward Enninful [Photo: Getty]

He told The Business of Fashion, “Architect Rem Koolhaas had just finished his [McCormick Tribune Campus] student centre, which later [along] with his relationship with Miuccia Prada piqued my interest and opened my gateway into fashion.”

Where did Virgil Abloh work before he launched Off-White?

Despite not having any formal training in fashion, his mother was a seamstress and taught Abloh everything he needed to know to get a foot in the industry.

And sure enough, he was soon working as Kanye West’s creative consultant at the tender age of 22. He took up the role at Donda, West’s creative content company named in honour of his late mother.  There, Abloh has worked tirelessly alongside the rapper in the creation of tour merchandise and album covers over the past decade.

But it was in 2012, that Abloh finally launched his debut label, Pyrex Vision, after interning alongside West at Fendi. As a consequence to his connections, the designer frequently collaborated with the likes of A$AP Rocky and West which soon helped Abloh to garner a serious following.

And when he decided to shut down the label in 2013, little did the fashion industry know that the designer was about to launch his greatest project to date…

When did Virgil Abloh found streetwear brand, Off-White?

Abloh founded haute streetwear label, Off-White, in 2013. In the space of just two years, the label was a finalist in the running for the LVMH Young Designers Prize.

Though it comes as no surprise, as the brand has over 3.1 million followers on Instagram and over 220 stockists worldwide. After making its Fashion Week debut in spring 2014, the label has become a regular fixture on the schedule and a top priority for the fash pack.

When will Virgil Abloh join Louis Vuitton?

In a telephone interview with the Business of Fashion, the designer revealed that despite his newfound role at Louis Vuitton, he won’t be giving up Off-White nor his partnership with Kanye West anytime soon.

“It is for the 17-year-old version of myself, whereas Vuitton is for the 37-year-old I am today,” he announced. Though with a top job on his plate, he will need to give up one of his favourite past times – DJ’ing.

The designer will make his Louis Vuitton debut during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris this June.


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