Virgil Abloh, the prolific designer who founded and built Off-White into a formidable brand, designed countless hits for Nike and Jordan Brand and made a huge mark at Louis Vuitton as the men’s artistic director, died on Sunday at age 41. His death was confirmed by LVMH in a statement.
“LVMH, Louis Vuitton and Off-White are devastated to announce the passing of Virgil Abloh, on Sunday November 28, of cancer, which he had been battling privately for several years. We are all shocked after the terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom. The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother or their friend,” said Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH.
In addition to his work at Off-White and LVMH, Abloh was one of Nike and Jordan Brand’s most trusted collaborators.
In 2017, the designer won the FNAA collaboration of the year award for the Air Jordan 1 from his instantly iconic “The Ten” collection.
Through his memorable speech, Abloh explained how important the thoughts and drive of interns can be, which is a mindset he still employs even as a successful designer today.
“This award, to me, is representative of my emotion as an intern. That emotion of showing up to this dream job — or let’s even go back further — that emotion of dreaming of a dream job, showing up and proving you can add ideas to an industry that’s already set in its ways, that always delivers great things,” Abloh explained.
He shared that his Nike “The Ten” lineup wouldn’t have been possible without it.
“This award wouldn’t have happened to me if I didn’t have that same intern spirit. And I showed up to Nike and said, ‘Hey, I like sneakers, I want to design a bunch of them,” Abloh said.
But it was the last line he delivered that resonated with attendees the most.
“In closing, high-five your intern tomorrow and tell them they could win the Shoe of the Year award, too,” he said.