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Today, Louis Vuitton announced Virgil Abloh’s appointment as the French fashion house’s new artistic director of menswear, making the Off-White founder the first African-American to hold the eminent position at the luxury brand. Abloh will replace Kim Jones, who announced his departure from Vuitton in January and was named Dior Homme’s artistic director this month.

Regarding his new appointment, Abloh said: “It is an honor 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’s covetable reputation largely derives from his designs for Off-White, the luxury urban streetwear line he launched in 2014, as well as his creative directing for rapper Kanye West. The 37-year-old Illinois native has previously collaborated on designs for Nike, Jimmy Choo, and Ikea, and has been nominated for Designer of the Year at the 2018 CFDA Awards. This June, he will showcase his first designs for Louis Vuitton at Paris Fashion Week.

Michael Burke, chairman and CEO of the fashion house, posted a statement via Vuitton’s Instagram welcoming the designer: “Having followed with great interest Virgil’s ascent since he worked with me at Fendi in 2006, I am thrilled to see how his innate creativity and disruptive approach have made him so relevant, not just in the world of fashion but in popular culture today,” said Burke. “His sensibility towards luxury and savoir-fare will be instrumental in taking Louis Vuitton menswear into the future.”

Abloh never received formal fashion schooling, but that never hindered the designer. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelors in Engineering, and from Illinois Institute of Technology with a masters in Architecture. While working as a DJ on the weekends, he met West and eventually began designing merchandise for the artist in 2003. In 2006, he interned for Fendi, where he met Burke. Last year, he was the only American finalist for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers.


Words by Ashley Barquin | Feature image via IKEA x Virgil Abloh

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