What Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton Means for Fashion

It has been announced that Off-White’s Virgil Abloh will be at the helm of Men’s Louis Vuitton as the new Artistic Director.

“I’ve always appreciated the quality of Louis Vuitton, but feel as a company they’ve been lacking creatively and don’t appeal to the youth as much as other high-end designers do,” states junior fashion photographer major Matt Sgambati. “I’m hoping to see something exciting and different from them soon. Virgil has a lot of eyes on him now, and I have high hopes for him doing great things for Louis Vuitton.”

He has come a long way since interning at Fendi with ‘Ye. Every collection and collaboration Abloh touches appears to turn into sales. The Nike x Off-White collaboration was deemed one of the best drops of 2017 by High Snobiety. Women are still trying to get their hands on a pair of his Jimmy Choo’s, too. From designing the costumes for the New York City Ballet to creating artwork currently on display in Tokyo, he has some serious experience on his résumé to further prove he is qualified for the position.

“[Virgil Abloh is] a cultural and inspirational designer for the next generation,” says previous artistic director Kim Jones in an Instagram comment. Jones is now the incoming artistic director of Dior Homme.

However, the appointment of Abloh to Louis Vuitton is not just about clothes, nor does it simply symbolize a new direction for the brand. He is now a representation of every article written in major publications about more inclusion of minorities, specifically of African-Americans, in luxury fashion. This is a moment displaying cultural progression within the fashion system.

Behind the scenes of the industry, Olivier Rousteing has been one of the only black designers to head a luxury heritage house since his appointment at Balmain in 2011 and Ozwald Boateng at Men’s Givenchy.

The magnitude of scrutiny Abloh will face will be due to there not being many black people leading from traditionalist holding onto the fashion agenda of the past, atop of the fact that he’s black and winning. Not to mention, this shows that traditional notions of fashion are no more, which is why Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga is so successful.

But this isn’t a race issue, nor are making it one. We’re just pointing out the fact that Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton is a much bigger deal than just a new artistic director. We’re excited to see how Virgil Abloh pushes the heritage brand.

Cover image via Google, taken by Christian Anwander

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