Virgil Aboh, first black artistic director of Louis Vuitton, dies at 41

William Stanziano, Editor-in-Chief

Virgil Abloh died on November 28, 2021, after a private two-year battle with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. His death was confirmed by his family. He was 41.

He was the first and so far only black artistic director of Louis Vuitton men’s wear, (Louis Vuitton is the world’s largest luxury brand). He also founded his own fashion brand, Off-White.

Virgil Abloh was born on Sept. 30, 1980, in Rockford, Ill., to Nee and Eunice Abloh, Ghanaian immigrants. He spent his childhood and teenage years immersed in skate culture, hip-hop, and all things art/design. 

He studied civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. His mother was a seamstress, and she taught him the basics of her craft.

He collaborated with a vast array of companies including Nike, IKEA, Evian, Mercedes Benz, and with fellow creatives such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Takashi Murakami, Heron Preston, and A$AP Rocky.

In addition to fashion and visual arts, Abloh was a furniture designer and a DJ. He was known for being involved in many projects at once, as a result, he actually referred to himself not just as a designer, but as a “maker.”

He is survived by his wife Shannon Abloh of 12 years, his children Lowe and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, and his parents – as well as his legacy of extreme positivity and artistry that will continue to affect the culture for generations.

“Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,” his wife, Shannon Abloh, quoted him as saying in a post on his Instagram account. He believed deeply, she wrote, “in the power of art to inspire future generations.”  – NYT Obituary Life/Career Timeline