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Louis Vuitton designer and artistic director Virgil Abloh. File image.
Louis Vuitton designer and artistic director Virgil Abloh. Photo: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images.

African-American communities nationwide pay tribute to Virgil Abloh

Virgil Abloh's death shook the fashion world and his community, who paid tribute to Abloh in different ways.

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The unexpected death of young designer Virgil Abloh has struck the fashion industry and strained the African-American community with mourning. Abloh, at the age of 41, was the first designer of African descent and artistic director of men's fashion for Louis Vuitton, as well as the founder of his own line, Off-White.

Virgil was a visionary who broke with societal stereotypes and transformed fashion by bringing "streetwear" into a luxurious space, blending art, music, and social consciousness. 

On his path through the fashion world, he crossed paths with artists and entrepreneurs such as Kanye West, with whom he collaborated to make sneakers for Louis Vuitton. After the collab, Abloh became creative director of West's Donda line.  

During the Nov. 28 service, West, along with a choir, paid tribute to Abloh: "In loving memory of Virgil Abloh, Donda's creative director." The ceremony was streamed live on dondalive.com.

His fellow musicians Anderson Paak and Tyler, The Creator also mourned the loss through social media.

"(...) ABLOH. that strong African surname. A few years ago I started using my African surname OKONMA more because of how regal Virgil's felt. Everything he did was like 'hey, around here, the coast is clear' whenever I questioned things. Now, a week removed since we last spoke, that conversation that I thought was random carries a lot more weight now." wrote Tyler The Creator on Instagram.

In addition to working with other Black public figures, Abloh inspired and taught young African-American men to dream big. Young men's fashion designer, Maxwell Shoroye expressed gratitude for the impact Virgil had on his community.

"He opened doors for a generation of thinkers from marginalized communities," he said, "Virgil gave us the ability to dream, because we don't necessarily see ourselves in the media in a good way."

Virgil passed away on Sunday, Nov. 28 at the age of 41 from cardiac angiosarcoma, an aggresive cancer he had been battling for the past two years. 

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