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Meet Virgil Abloh, the Ghanaian-American named Louis Vuitton menswear artistic director

The fashion industry is in a flutter after the French luxury label Louis Vuitton named Virgil Abloh its new artistic director of menswear, replacing Kim Jones, who announced his departure just last week.

The 37-year-old designer, DJ and creative genius behind the Milan-based streetwear label Off-White is the first designer of colour to hold such a high-profile position at Louis Vuitton. As artistic director of menswear, Abloh will be one of the few black designers at the top of a French heritage house, following in the footsteps of Olivier Rousteing at Balmain and Ozwald Boateng, who was the designer for Givenchy menswear from 2003 to 2007.

In response to his elevation to the upper echelons of the fashion world, Abloh said in a statement: “I feel elated. 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. And 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.”

The fashion world is all abuzz with the news. In a statement Michael Burke, chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, said, ”Having followed with great interest Virgil’s ascent since he worked with me at Fendi in 2006, I am thrilled to see how his innate creativity and disruptive approach have made him so relevant, not just in the world of fashion but in popular culture today.”

Abloh, who has been a long-term creative director for Kanye Wests, drew a mob of fans at his Fall 2018 women’s show at Paris Fashion Week. His appointment could in part be ascribed to the fact that he not only appeals to the fashion-forward masses but is also attuned to youth and street culture in a way that legacy brands are trying to be a part of. In addition, Abloh has a reputation for being a serial collaborator, creating limited edition one-offs that have captured the imagination for brands such as Jimmy Choo, Nike and Warby Parker.

Read: Laëtitia Kandolo, the Congolese stylist who has worked with Rihanna and Kanye West

His first collection for Louis Vuitton, most likely for Paris Fashion Week in June, is sure to be one of the most anticipated shows of the season.

Abloh is the first finalist of the LVMH Young Designers Prize to actually become a major designer at the multinational luxury goods conglomerate. He also won last year’s Urban Luxe prize for Off-White at the British Fashion Council Awards and received both a menswear and womenswear Designer of the Year nomination for the 2018 CDFA Awards, which are scheduled for June 2108.

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