Style

These are Virgil Abloh’s most iconic fashion moments

A generation-leading creative who touched sneakers, art, music, and more.

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The death of Virgil Abloh on November 28 has come as a great shock, as his diagnosis with an aggressive form of cancer had not been revealed until his passing. In just 41 years of life, Abloh became one of the most central figures in the creative world — bridging high-fashion, streetwear, sneakers, and music amongst one of the most far-reaching resumes you’ll ever see.

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The loss of Abloh is colossal, and were it not for his health issues it would have been hard to see his grip on culture weaken in the foreseeable future. His work with Kanye West, Off-White, and Louis Vuitton cannot be overstated in its influence, and generations will follow under under the lead of a man who was remarkably generous with his time and support.

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To celebrate and honor the incredible life of Abloh, we’ve put together a primer on a career that’s ended sooner than we ever would have expected. The legacy of his timeline, however, will live on through the countless amount of talent Abloh’s fostered and inspired.

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1980

Abloh is born September 30 in the Chicago suburb Rockford to his Ghanian immigrant parents. He grows up with an interest in skateboarding, hip-hop, and their associated styles. His mother’s trade as a seamstress also provides an early education in fashion.

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2002

Abloh receives his undergraduate degree in civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the same year he first meets Kanye West. West’s manager John Monopoly first hears of Abloh through Custom Kings, a screen-printing store impressed with the organization of Abloh’s files. Monopoly then introduces Abloh to Don C, who in turn brings him to West to begin a long-running creative partnership.

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2006

Abloh receives his master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. During this time he makes shopping trips to New York City and creates the blog The Brilliance along with Benjamin Edgar and Chuck Anderson — which covers streetwear, sneakers, art, design, among the many interests that would go on to define Abloh’s career.

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2009

A major year for Abloh, as he opens the boutique RSVP Gallery in Chicago along with Don C, begins an internship at Fendi along with West, and appears at Paris Fashion Week in perhaps the most legendary street style photo of all-time.

RSVP Gallery

2010

West names Abloh as creative director for Donda, a creative agency named after Kanye’s mother that spans cover art, music videos, stage design, and marketing.

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2012

Abloh forms the Been Trill along with Matthew Williams, Heron Preston, Justin Saunders (aka jjjjound), and Florencia Galarza — all Donda alumni. The collective throws parties and DJs before expanding into streetwear. During the same year he also launches Pyrex Vision, Abloh’s first proper brand that becomes notorious early for screen-printing Rugby Ralph Lauren flannels and marking up the price by 700 percent.

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2013

Abloh shifts his focus from Pyrex Vision, which he viewed as something of a joke, to the newly launched Off-White, a proper label that will go on to have its womenswear debut in 2014 at Paris Fashion Week. In 2015, Abloh is named an LVMH Grand Prize and Special Prize finalist for his work at Off-White, beginning to cement him as a household name in high fashion.

eBay

2017

Abloh and Off-White release their first run of collaborative Nike sneakers nicknamed “The Ten.” The reconfiguration of Nike silhouettes classic and contemporary ushers in an era of the sportswear giant giving more creative license to its partners and establishes Abloh as the most in-demand collaborator across growing fields to follow. Nike will also continue to release sneakers with Abloh over the coming years, the vast majority of which mark major events in a crowded calendar of drops.

Nike

2018

Abloh is named artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear, as he replaces friend and mentor Kim Jones and showcases his first collection on a rainbow, Wizard of Oz-themed runway in June at Paris Fashion Week. Takashi Murakami partners with Abloh for an exhibition at the Gagosian this same year, and Abloh also holds a guest lecture at the Harvard School of Design.

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2019

Abloh’s first solo-exhibition Figures of Speech opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. After first being revealed in 2017, Abloh’s long-awaited IKEA collaboration is finally released and joins a far-reaching portfolio of partnership that includes Evian, Levi’s, Moët & Chandon, Rimowa, and later Mercedes-Benz.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

2020

Abloh first enlists legendary Japanese designer Nigo of Bape and Human Made to design a collaborative line known as LV². After commissioning Futura to create artwork live during a Louis Vuitton show the year prior, Abloh bridges the past further by tapping the graffiti artist for an Off-White capsule and an unreleased Off-White Nike Dunk Low.

Louis Vuitton

2021

LVMH deepens its relationship with Abloh by acquiring a 60-percent stake of Off-White, with the remaining 40 percent remaining with the designer. The last Nike collaboration of Abloh’s lifetime, the Off-White x Air Jordan 2, releases just weeks prior to his passing.

Nike

The announcement of Abloh’s death reveals he had been battling cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer, since 2019. Louis Vuitton announces it will go forward with the runway show for Abloh’s SS22 collection as a tribute to his life and legacy November 30 in Miami.

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