Virgil Abloh was born in 1980 in Rockford, Illinois, USA, to a family of immigrants from Ghana. He spent his young years in Rockford and, in 2002, he achieved a B.Sc. Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In 2006, he graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology and received his Master of Architecture.
In 2009, during his internship at Fendi in Italy, Abloh got to know world-famous rapper Kanye West and they started a collaboration together. In 2011, Kanye West appointed Abloh as his agency's creative director.
A year later, Abloh started his first business, "Pyrex Vision". He bought deadstock clothing from Ralph Lauren, printed additional designs on it, and sold it at more than ten times the price. The company closed a year later, as it wasn’t intended to become a real business but was rather one of Abloh's artistic projects/experiments.
In 2013, the designer started his own fashion house "Off-White", specializing in high-end streetwear, with main offices in Milan, Italy. This was followed by a number of successful collaborations with well-established companies such as Nike and IKEA.
In March 2018, Abloh was also appointed the menswear artistic director at Louis Vuitton. In November 2021, he died after a long struggle with cancer.
Watch Virgil Abloh showing his studio and sharing insights on his work processes.
Watch Off-White's Fall/Winter 2019/2020 Fashion Show by Virgil Abloh
Watch Virgil Abloh's Lecture at Harvard's Graduate School of Design