Virgil Abloh Becomes New Louis Vuitton Artistic Director

Molly Glus, Lifestyle Section Editor

Virgil Abloh continues to break down doors in the fashion world.

Luxury and world famous brand Louis Vuitton announced on Monday, March 26, 2018 Virgil Abloh has become the brand’s newest male artistic director. However, Abloh is not new to the industry, with previous experience as the founder of the street-wear brand Off-White and long time creative director for Kanye West. This step is one for the ages, with Louis Vuitton being one of the most powerful businesses in fashion.

Abloh is the company’s first African American male director. A first generation Ghanaian-American raised in Illinois, Abloh has been noted by critics of having a way of taking familiar and making it culturally current. Abloh is one of only few in the industry taking up this role. According to the New York Times, only Olivier Rousteing, creative director for Balmain, and Ozwald Boateng, designer of Gucci men’s wear from 2003 to 2007, have taken such a monumental step for the fashion world.

According to the New York Times, the decision to hire a new director for the men’s side of the brand began from the departure of Kim Jones, the former men’s artistic director of the brand.

Furthermore, the Times states that part of the brand’s decision to go with Abloh was the increasing intermingling of luxury and street-wear. The mixture increased luxury sales by five percent, to about 325 billion dollars.

Despite his recent fame, Abloh was not foreign to the heads of the company beforehand. Chief Executive at Louis Vuitton, Michael Burke, met Abloh over a decade ago while he interned at Fendi for Kanye West.

“Virgil is incredibly good at creating bridges between the classic and the zeitgeist of the moment,” said Burke.

Also from the New York Times, before his hiring from Louis Vuitton, Abloh was regarded as the “champion of cross brand collaboration.” He has worked with world known brands such as Jimmy Choo, Moncler, Ikea, and Nike.

On top of his modern, street wear reputation, Abloh is considering his relationship with the customers of Louis Vuitton. Abloh told the New York Times that his main focus would be the communication with customers for releases and the runway show, and working to have the show interact with fans on the global scale.

“This opportunity to think through what the next chapter of design and luxury will mean at a brand that represents the pinnacle of luxury was always a goal in my wildest dreams…to show a younger generation that there is no one way anyone in this kind of position has to look is a fantastically modern spirit in which to start,” Abloh said.

This is a Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 file photo of Virgil Abloh poses for photographers upon arrival at the Nike Celebrates The Beautiful Game event, in the London, Paris based fashion house. Louis Vuitton has named American Virgil Abloh, the founder streetwear brand Off-White, as its new menswear designer. (AP Photo/Vianney Le Caer/File)