The fashion industry will always be an example of possibility. As the world moves towards protectionism in all its forms yet another example of diversity rises to the highest echelons of fashion. This morning news of Virgil Abloh’s appointment as menswear creative director at Louis Vuitton was confirmed. A first generation Ghanian-American raised in Illinois, Virgil is founder of haute streetwear label Off-White and creative director to Kanye West as well. With no formal fashion training other than the fact that his mother was a seamstress. Virgil who studied civil engineering and architecture will join the ranks of Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing one of the very few black designers at the top of a French heritage house. British immigrant Oswald Boateng was also the designer for Givenchy menswear from 2003 to 2007.
The appointment of Virgil, who takes the place of Kim Jones who departed the company in January 2018 is part of a menswear shakeup at LVMH. Kim was swiftly picked up by Dior Homme and will be replacing Kris van Assche.
When asked, chief executive of Louis Vuitton Michael Burke shared, “Virgil is incredibly good at creating bridges between the classic and the zeitgeist of the moment.” The two men first met about 12 years ago when Mr. Abloh spent six months interning at Fendi with Kanye West, where Mr. Burke was then the chief executive. “I paid them $500 a month!” Mr. Burke said. “I was really impressed with how they brought a whole new vibe to the studio and were disruptive in the best way. Virgil could create a metaphor and a new vocabulary to describe something as old-school as Fendi. I have been following his career ever since.”