Virgil Abloh – the trailblazing designer, architect, DJ, creative collaborator and philanthropist who founded Off-White and was the first Black designer to lead Louis Vuitton as Artistic Director – passed away on Sunday. In celebration of Abloh and the immense impact he had and will continue to have, we asked Selfridges team members to share their memories of Abloh and the ways he influenced them, as well as collecting the tributes from some of our wider Selfridges family in the days since he passed. Here, we share those dedications, from industry leaders through to those who worked on the shop floor with Off-White, on how he made our world a brighter place, and the legacy he leaves.
“Virgil was an inspiration and a great part of what menswear fashion is at Selfridges. We opened the first Off-White shop-in-shop what feels like many years ago now. The impact was instant. Customers, staff and fashion industry professionals alike competed to buy the first Off-White collection pieces. Signature ‘pieces’ selling out immediately. But the success was not only commercial in nature. The impact that Virgil’s Off-White had on London fashion and music culture was only beginning to dawn on us later. It was the start of a new guard of designers who we were able to work with from that moment onwards.
Virgil pushed on so many levels what a fashion designer can be – music, fashion, art, homeware. His creativity reaching far into so many aspects of menswear culture.
I first met Virgil when working at Comme des Garçons, when he came to the store together with Kanye West. And we had some great exchanges about buying, products and brands, and how everything is linked together. It’s easy to see in hindsight now how it all fits together – but at the time, which must have been around 2009/2010, it was not. Social media was in its infancy and fashion did not have the cross-cultural influence it has now. Not least because of Virgil and the visionary he was. He worked and connected many a creative world together.
When Virgil became the first artistic director of Louis Vuitton with an African-American background, it further cemented the influence he had on the entire fashion industry, which I think will be remembered as a real moment of change.
Besides his work in fashion for Off-White and LV, and with all the collaborators from Evian to Chrome Hearts, Virgil was the most incredible DJ. I do not know how he found the time to do everything. That truly, for me, makes him a huge source of inspiration forever.
Virgil will be greatly missed. A huge talent that we’ve lost. Rest in power.“
- Bosse Myhr, Selfridges Director of Menswear & Womenswear
“I really can’t believe it. Even though I didn’t get the chance to know you or call you a ‘friend’, you’ve always been a mentor to me one way or another. Virgil taught me a very important lesson – that you can do it too, just as he did. He left us with his influence and legacy, to create and change the world, and even though he’s physically gone, his name and legacy will always live on, inspiring others and paving the way for the next generation. He showed me that taking decisions and knowing all the viable risks is something worth doing, and this is a perfect example of the kind of person and spirit he is, always taking risks and breaking and challenging the norm.
Thank you for everything, Virgil.“
“I’m not made for a podium, but I’ll design a podium that ushers in systemic change.” – Virgil Abloh
- Benedetta Atti, Selfridges Sales Associate for Off-White
Virgil Abloh’s immeasurable accomplishments across fashion, art and music inspired so many of us and will continue to influence how we see and experience culture. What’s clear from the tributes to his character, his work and his achievements is that we are only beginning to feel the impact he had, and his legacy will continue to empower people young and old for many more years to come.
“Life is so short you can’t waste even a day subscribing to what someone thinks you can do versus knowing what you can do.” – Virgil Abloh
THE VIRGIL ABLOH™ “POST-MODERN”
In 2020, Virgil Abloh established a fund to support the next generation of Black fashion talent.
Visit the link below if you wish to donate to the fund and support Virgil Abloh’s legacy.
Find out more