The fashion industry lost another iconic talent yesterday (Nov. 28). Fashion designer and entrepreneur, Virgil Abloh died at 41 years old from cancer, which he battled in privacy for two years.
Abloh was the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection from 2018 until his death. He was also the chief executive officer of the Milan-based label Off-White, a fashion house he founded in 2013. Abloh left behind his wife, Shannon Abloh and two children Grey and Lowe Abloh.
His rise to fame and road to becoming one of the most popular designers in the modern age was kickstarted since his early days in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois. His parents were immigrants from Ghana, and his mother was a seamstress, who taught him how to sew. Though Abloh studied engineering in college, he went on to create notable brands like his first, Pyrex Vision, which was founded in 2012. He closed that chapter to begin Off-White in 2013. A brand Abloh defined as “the gray area between black and white as the color Off-White.”
The year 2017 was one of Abloh’s most monumental moments. The legendary designer announced a collaborative exhibition with notable artist Takashi Murkami at the Gagosian, he opened his first New York store, collaborated with brands like Warby Parker and Jimmy Choo, and released a shoe with Nike.
His relationship with artist Kanye West is also a pivotal factor in his success over the years. In 2009, the two friends began a six-month internship at Fendi in Rome. This led to Abloh being appointed as creative director of West’s creative agency, Donda, in 2010. From there, Abloh earned a Grammy nomination for his art direction of Kanye and Jay-Z’s album Watch the Throne in 2011.
As Donda’s creative director, the fashion pioneer helped create other iconic album artwork for popular artists like 2 Chainz, Kid Cudi, Big Sean and Lil Wayne. He had a hand in some of the most notable album covers of the past 10+ years , whether he desired the artwork himself or made noticeable contributions. Check out some of Virgil Abloh’s most popular album covers over the years below.