Ghanaian-American, Virgil Abloh was born in 1980 and grew up in Rockford, Illinois. He was an artist, architect, and fashion designer, known for creating the Milanese-based brand, Off-White and becoming the first African American Creative Director for a French luxury house — Louis Vuitton. Abloh’s foundation is in Civil Engineering and Architecture. He has a degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his masters from the Illinois Institute of Technology. There, at IIT, while studying a design curriculum devised by Mies van der Rohe, Abloh learned to combine the fields of art, craft, and design. His inter-disciplinary practice and entrepreneurial spirit lead to significant collaborations with artists worldwide on the highest levels of innovation.
In 2018, Time magazine included him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In the summer of 2019, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago presented “Figures of Speech,” a major traveling survey of Abloh’s work —one of the highest attended exhibitions in the museum’s history. His premature passing in 2021 prompted an outpouring of emotion from industry figures and collaborators throughout the fashion, music, and art worlds. His desire for social progress and willingness to share knowledge has opened the doors to a broader cast of creatives, firmly establishing his legacy as a contemporary cultural visionary.