Who was Virgil Abloh? The designer whose death shook the world – CapeTown ETC

The world was devastated by the news that Virgil Abloh, the captain of creativity driving  Louis Vuitton’s ship and the innovator who brought Off-White to the globe, had passed on at 41 years old, battling a rare form of cancer – cardiac angiosarcoma.
His name meant different things for different people, and for some it is a name of curiosity. Who was the icon and why did this death impact the world so greatly? 
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“Look around at the way young men now think about clothes, design and music, and you’ll see him everywhere,” wrote The New York Times.
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Vogue dubbed the Ghanaian-American as the “designer of progress.” Ironically, Abloh had no technical fashion design training beyond learning from his mother’s work as a seamstress. He had actually studied civil engineering and obtained a master’s degree in architecture.
As Bubblegum Club expresses, Abloh was a polarising figure within the Black fashion community. He stood against the traditionalism in fashion – and pioneered an entirely new era of how black people could see themselves in high-fashion especially, as innovators.
Abloh created a space for creativity that broke glass ceilings. He was paramount in incorporating hip-hop culture in high fashion and took so much of what once may have been perceived as ghetto to be understood as gold with a different perspective. 
He stood at the threshold for many black creativities to see what was possible – and for this reason beyond his vast repertoire of work, collaborations and the like, masters him as an icon. 
“Ultimately, I take pride in being a Black designer, and my goal is to open the door for more Black designers and people of colour, women of colour, so that in a year’s time or multiple years’ time, they don’t have to mention that they’re a Black designer.”
People from all over the world, from Ghanaians to Kim Kardashian have expressed their love, loss and praise for Mr Abloh. 
Louis Vuitton honoured the designer in his final fashion collection showcase. Of all the designers that walked in Miami, it is arguably the simple red titling of the show that encapsulates his impact on the world profoundly, stating simply: 
“Virgil was Here.” 
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Picture: Pinterest

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