Louis Vuitton Hires Off-White's Virgil Abloh As Its New Men's Wear Designer

BY DANIEL ARTEAGA

Streetwear genius Virgil Abloh has been appointed the artistic director of the French luxury brand Louis Vuitton. Abloh, first generation Ghanaian-American, is the first black artistic director for the leading fashion house. This appointment follows the departure of former menswear director, Kim Jones.

From DJing at Lollapalooza, to speaking at Harvard, Abloh's unconventional resumè is extensive; to call him a hard worker would be an understatement. Abloh is the founder and current artistic director of Off-White, a haute streetwear brand that has created a unique bridge between luxury design and streetwear. In 2009, Abloh interned for Fendi alongside Kanye West and has been West's creative director and advisor for over a decade. Since losing the LVMH Young Fashion Designer award to Marques’Almeida in 2015, Abloh has come full circle by becoming the first LVMH finalist to take on a major design role in an LVMH brand.

Virgil is no stranger to collaboration, with his Nike "The Ten" collection instantly selling out world-wide. Other notable collaborations in 2017 were with English footwear brand Jimmy Choo, and French sportswear brand Moncler. Aside from other fashion brands, Virgil's most important collaboration is with the youth. In an interview with the New York Times, Alboh shares his mission to make luxury fashion relatable cross-generationally, which is a thought process that accounts for most of his success. His collaboration with Nike connected Abloh to an entire market outside of luxury fashion.

Sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts now have Alboh on their radar, with his Nike collection being resold for over double the retail price, which will likely translate to increased sales during his reign at Louis Vuitton. With Louis Vuitton already testing the waters during their iconic, sold-out collaboration with New York-based streetwear brand Supreme; all eyes are on Abloh to see if his take on the brand can exceed the success of Supreme's. Clearly, the financial power millennials have on the fashion industry is unwavering and brands like Louis Vuitton are spearheading the movement by acknowledging this demographic.

It [Off-White] is for the 17-year-old version of myself, whereas Vuitton is for the 37-year-old I am today.
— Virgil Abloh, New York Times

This quote perfectly describes the contrast between Abloh's Off-White and Louis Vuitton ventures, which have fashion fans everywhere wondering where he will take such a legendary high fashion brand. Virgil has had huge success with his collaborations, but taking on the role of artistic director for a major European fashion house expands his platform and is completely different than designing a few capsule collections. Abloh is exceptional at establishing and defining a brand's image and he has expressed that he will be making changes in the way Louis Vuitton connects with their customers moving forward. Abloh also wants to connect with Louis Vuitton's history of travel by highlighting different cultures around the world. His first menswear collection at Louis Vuitton will debut during Paris Men's Fashion week in June 2018.

Lead Image Credit: Louis Vuitton / Twitter

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