For the first time in its over 160-year-history, Louis Vuitton has a Black artistic director. The French luxury brand announced the appointment of Virgil Abloh as its new artistic director of menswear on Monday morning.
Louis Vuitton is delighted to welcome Virgil Abloh as its new Men’s Artistic Director. His first show will take place in June during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris. pic.twitter.com/4aEOH7T9J8
— Louis Vuitton (@LouisVuitton) March 26, 2018advertisement
Abloh, who has no formal fashion training, said of the historic news: “This opportunity to think through what the next chapter of design and luxury will mean at a brand that represents the pinnacle of luxury was always a goal in my wildest dreams. And to show a younger generation that there is no one way anyone in this kind of position has to look is a fantastically modern spirit in which to start.”
The 37-year-old, a first-generation Ghanaian-American from Rockford, Illinois, learned his skills from his mother, who was a seamstress. After earning his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, Abloh went on to obtain his master’s in architecture. By 2006, he landed an internship at Fendi alongside Kanye West, and since, has become West’s longtime creative director, plus collaborated with high-end brands such as Nike, Moncler, and Jimmy Choo. In 2013, he founded his Milan-based label, Off-White.
Abloh told New York Times in a phone interview, “For the last eight to 10 years we’ve been having this conversation about what’s new, and for me, that has to do with making luxury relatable across generations. The first thing I am going to do is define new codes. My muse has always been what people actually wear, and I am really excited to make a luxury version of that.”
He added: “Product is only one part of the luxury narrative. I want to use Louis Vuitton’s history with travel to really look at different cultures around the world to help make all our humanity visible. When creativity melds together with global issues, I believe you can bring the world together. Fashion on this level can really open eyes.”
Congratulations, Virgil! Thank you for blazing your own trail in the fashion industry and being an inspiration to present and future Black designers.