Virgil Abloh uses art, identity and representation to improve the fashion industry

Logan Goodman ’24 is wearing red Nike Off-White x Dunk Low University sneakers. Virgil Abloh designed and released these shoes with Nike on Dec. 20, 2019.

Photo contributed by Dylan Goodman Photography

Logan Goodman ’24 is wearing red Nike Off-White x Dunk Low University sneakers. Virgil Abloh designed and released these shoes with Nike on Dec. 20, 2019.

Virgil Abloh died due to cancer at only 41 years old on Sunday Nov. 28.  He founded and became the CEO of Off-White in 2012, and has been the creative director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear since 2018. 

Abloh’s luxurious streetwear designs gave way for him to become one of the most influential designers today. Having worked with famous models like Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner, Zendaya and Bella and Gigi Hadid, he shaped the way streetwear is presented to the public. 

“His impact on the fashion world wasn’t really about his designs, it was kind of just like building a bridge between art and fashion.””

— Logan Goodman ’24

“His impact on the fashion world wasn’t really about his designs,” Logan Goodman ’24 said. “It was kind of just like building a bridge between art and fashion.”

Goodman became familiar with Abloh through Off-White. As someone who is often seen in streetwear, she believes he influenced her perspective of what fashion really is: a form of self-expression. Inspired by Abloh, she incorporates pops of color into her wardrobe to bring in aspects of her artistic side.

Similar to Goodman, Abby Kalman ’22 credits her interest in streetwear to Abloh, and viewed him as a “motivator” to her personal designs and creations.  

“He was so pioneering to that sector of the industry,” Kalman said. “[his death] kind of just felt like I lost a role model.”

According to the New York Times, Abloh created clothing that would use ironic contemporary ideals to reflect “art, music, politics and philosophy,” which make up one’s identity. Shannon Abloh, Abloh’s wife, wrote in an Instagram post that he put himself in the same mindset he had at 17 to inspire the younger generations to use art to express themselves.

“Virgil was driven by his dedication to his craft, to his mission to open doors for others and create pathways for greater equality in art and design,” Shannon Abloh wrote. 

Abloh changed the fashion industry by creating an opening for equality and representation. Although he is no longer with us, his legacy remains and is carried out by his loved ones and those he inspired.

His legacy [was to]to inspire youth to feel empowered to just keep creating and crossing societal boundaries within art and fashion,” Kalman said. “And kind of just making yourself satisfied as a person with the work you’re creating.