Virgil Abloh: founder of Off-White died as a lover of soccer and fashion

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On November 28, 2021, the world lost a fashion icon, Virgil Abloh who founded a fashion house, Off-White in 2012 and went on to become the first African-American to be named artistic director of a French luxury fashion house, Louis Vuitton.

The 41-year-old American fashion designer died after a long battle with cancer which was not made public until after his death.

His death was announced on Sunday by LVMH, the French holding company that owns Louis Vuitton.

An official statement from LVMH boss Bernard Arnault read: “We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary; he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom.

“The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother, or their friend.”

Also, a lengthy statement on Virgil Abloh’s verified Instagram page described the fashion mogul as “a fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother, and friend”.

The statement revealed that Abloh is “survived by his loving wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh”.

Also, the statement revealed that Virgil Abloh has been battling a form of cancer known as cardiac angiosarcoma for two years which killed him in November.

“He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture”, the statement read.

“Through it, all, his work ethic, infinite curiosity, and optimism never wavered. Virgil was driven by his dedication to his craft and to his mission to open doors for others and create pathways for greater equality in art and design. He often said, “Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,” believing deeply in the power of art to inspire future generations.”

Virgil Abloh loves soccer like fashion

Virgil Abloh and models wearing his designs for Nike.
File photo of Virgil Abloh and models wearing his designs for Nike.

Virgil Abloh came to the limelight in 2002 when he collaborated with American rapper Kanye West’s design agency Donda even though he graduated from the university as a civil engineer.

The Ghanaian-born fashion icon also worked as an art director for Kenya West and Jay-Z’s 2011 album Watch the Throne, before he launched his streetwear brand in Milan called Off-White.

Though his brand was a huge success, he got to the peak of his career as a designer when he was named the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collections.

How Virgil Abloh landed in the soccer world

Virgil Abloh at an exhibition soccer game.
Virgil Abloh at an exhibition soccer game.

Virgil Abloh played soccer when he was in college. He reportedly plays as a defender during the era.

In 2018, Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones, artistic director of Dior Homme, partnered with Nike to release soccer-based designs.

After the soccer-based designs were released, the late fashion icon said he was “inspired by the way European teams have a sponsor printed over the chest”.

“When I was working on this collection, I wanted to celebrate the different variants of typography,” he added.

The jersey’s black-and-white checkerboard is a subtle nod to Czech strips. And the team’s logo, a lion juggling dots, pays homage to ubiquitous crests and the pattern of dots Abloh formed when thinking about how to explain, at the most basic level, the optimal place on the foot to strike a ball.

Abloh’s black-and-white checkerboard’s jersey.

Asides from the shirts and shorts he designed in partnership with Nike, Abloh designed one of the most unique soccer footwear popularly referred to as Nike’s Mercurial football boot.

While explaining the details on the footwear, Abloh said: “I wanted to communicate where a player strikes the ball. So, I put dots on the boot; if you’re going to strike the ball, your foot/eye coordination is basically the only variance of chance. That’s what the collection started with, these running shoes that mimic the same as your actual boot on the pitch so that you started subconsciously training all the time. Then I just applied that aesthetic from the bottom up.”

Paris Saint Germain striker, Kylian Mbappé with Nike’s Mercurial football boot designed by Abloh.

Paris Saint Germain striker, Kylian Mbappé wore Nike’s Mercurial football boot on the pitch on March 31, 2018, and was sold on Nike’s official website.

Virgil Abloh’s net worth

According to reports, the African-American designer, entrepreneur, and disc jockey, Virgil Abloh reportedly earned 10 million dollars per year as the head of Louis Vuitton’s artistic department.

Before he died on November 28, 2021, the Ghanaian-born American fashion icon was reportedly worth 100 million dollars.

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