Virgil Abloh was an inspiration to all


courtesy of Vogue

Virgil Abloh posing for his Vogue article photo shoot for the launch of “off-white”.

Josh Huff '22, Social Media Editor

November 28th 2021, marked a sad day for the both the fashion and music industry. Virgil Abloh, a prominent artist and designer, known for some of the most iconic album cover and fashion designs over the course of the last decade has died at the young age of 41.

Abloh, who passed away from terminal Cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare type of cancer, kept his diagnosis from the public for three years. Abloh’s story is reminiscent of Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther star who kept his terminal cancer diagnosis from the public, until his untimely death a year and a half ago. There is no doubt that the death of Virgil Abloh came as a shock to all. Abloh’s contributions to pop culture and the fashion and design world far overshadow his untimely death however. With that said, lets look at what made him so great.

Before we can truly get into why Virgil Abloh held the immense importance and influence that he had, and his work continues to have, we must look at a timeline of his career.


Abloh graduates from University of Wisconsin–Madison with a degree in Civil Engineering. On the day of his graduation, it is rumored that Abloh skipped the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony to take a meeting with Kanye West’s Manager, John Monopoly. Shortly after, West and Abloh begin working together, and are a force to be reckoned with.




Kanye West and Virgil Abloh begin interning at FENDI, a high end fashion company based in Italy. The two were said to be “very disruptive in the best way possible.” A statement that would be indicative of both Wests and Abloh’s career in the years to come.



Abloh is named head art director of Kanye West’s and Jay-Z’s 2011 collaboration, Watch the Throne. Abloh receives his first Grammy nomination for his extensive work on the album and the marketing that surrounded it.



Abloh launched his first brand, Pyrex. He purchased deadstock Ralph Lauren flannel shirts for $40 each, and screen printed them with the word Pyrex and the number 23, an homage to his childhood hero, Michael Jordan. They sell for $550 each.



In 2013, Virgil founded what many consider to be his magnum opus. After scrapping the company Pyrex, he founded “Off- White.” A creation hub, with the focus being fashion. He describes the meaning of the name as this, “the gray area between black and white as the color Off-White.”



Abloh is named the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collections, stepping into the role vacated by his friend and mentor Kim Jones. “It is an honor for me to accept this position. 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,” he says in a statement.


Abloh’s work extends far beyond the fashion and music world though. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Virgil Abloh was a beacon of light. A living and breathing message that creativity is subjective to those who create it. When news broke of Abloh’s death, his estate ended the Instagram post with a quote from Virgil. The quote read, “everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself.”

There is no doubt that Virgil Abloh did what not many before him could. In the fashion world, he meshed the clashing worlds of streetwear and high fashion, to a point where now, the two are largely indistinguishable. In the realm of music, not only did he create his own, but he provided vision and physical artwork that would become some of the most critically acclaimed work of the past decade.

While Virgil Abloh’s life was most certainly unfairly cut short, it’s safe to say that Abloh made the absolute most of his 41 years on this planet, a goal that we should all strive to achieve.