It is official, the founder of the elevated luxe-streetwear brand, Off White Virgil Abloh has been named the next artistic director of men’s wear at Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton is one of the oldest and most powerful European fashion houses in the luxury business. He is the first first African-American artistic director, and one of the few black designers at the top of a French heritage house. He joins other notable fashion personalities like , Olivier Rousteing who was appointed to the helm of Balmain in 2011 at the age of 24. Olivier Rousteing was the youngest creative director in Paris since Yves Saint Laurent.
Virgil Abloh will present his first collection for the French house in June 2018 at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, which we are all excited to see. He succeeds Kim Jones, who held the position for seven years and now oversees menswear at fellow LVMH-owned brand Christian Dior.
Mr. Abloh’s appointment is also a reflection of the increasing consumer-driven intermingling of the luxury and street wear sectors, which helped boost global sales of luxury personal goods by 5 percent last year to an estimated 263 billion euros (about $325 billion in today’s dollars),according to a recent study by the global consulting firm Bain & Company. And it is an acknowledgment on the part of the luxury industry that it must respond to contemporary culture in new ways. (NewYork Times, 2018)
The lucrative LV x Supreme collaboration, for example, proved to be an extremely successful venture that signaled the importance of attracting a new generation of streetwear enthusiasts. And speaking of collaborations, Abloh has garnered a reputation of being a serial collaborator, creating buzz-worthy, limited-edition one-offs with a wide array of brands including Jimmy Choo, Warby Parker and Nike. (Forbes, 2018)
Mr. Abloh, who is 37 and a first-generation Ghanaian-American raised in Illinois, is widely considered one of fashion’s consummate purveyors of cool; a master of using irony, reference and the self-aware wink (plus celebrity, music, digital and hype), to recontextualize the familiar and give it an aura of cultural currency.Despite having no formal fashion education (his mother was a seamstress and taught him her trade; he studied architecture and civil engineering), Mr. Abloh founded Off-White — a reference to his belief that old barriers are breaking down — in 2013, almost a decade after he first meet Mr. West and became his creative partner. In 2015, Off-White was a finalist for the LVMH Young Designers Prize. (Mr. Abloh will be the first LVMH finalist to take on a major design role in an LVMH brand. (NewYork Times, 2018)