When news hit that Virgil Abloh was taking over the menswear division at Louis Vuitton as artistic director, you could literally feel the rumble of the fashion industry last Monday. Even though, the rumors had been circling for months, especially with Abloh’s predecessor, Kim Jones’ exit in January, the news wasn’t any less impactful.
His appointment makes history as he is Louis Vuitton’s first Black artistic director and the part of the small crew of Black designers that head a French fashion house. It also is a testament to how far streetwear culture has come in the industry. Abloh, whose brand Off-White has changed how luxury and streetwear intermingle, is definitely going to do the same with one of the oldest and most powerful fashion houses.
We saw a foreshadowing of a move like this with the Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration last year and it will definitely prove to be a good move indeed. According to a study run by Bain & Company, a global consulting firm, the fusing of the luxury and street wear sectors stimulated the international sales of luxury goods by 5 percent last year to about $325 billion.
My personal thoughts? Virgil Abloh single-handedly crafted how the industry and pop culture views casual wear. From Pyrex to Off-White, he infused luxe into a t-shirt. Some may deem his assignment as disastrous, but fashion has to move with the culture. Fashion is ever changing and from my point of view, menswear is going to be that bitch very soon. It was always the forgotten son in fashion. But with moves like this, handing the reins of a titan fashion house to a Black man, the fruits of his labor will be bountiful. Even though he has no formal fashion training, his collections moved with the generation, if not lead it. Also illustrated by his brassiness for political statements, which will be a fun sight to see at Louis Vuitton as well.
That Ghanaian-American man already made tidal waves with the news of his appointment, imagine what we are going to see in June at his first show and future shows.