Livin’ La Vida Vuitton

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Katia Gillen discusses how Louis Vuitton Menswear is ready for a new look.

Louis Vuitton made headlines last month when it announced that Ghanian-American designer Virgil Abloh will be their new Men’s Artistic Director. This makes Abloh the first black designer to hold the position of Artistic Director within the fashion house. The brand made the announcement on Twitter, and revealed that Abloh’s first show would take place in June during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris. He will be replacing Kim Jones, who has gone on to become a menswear designer for Christian Dior. Abloh will become one of very few people of colour to have been in charge of a major luxurious fashion house, alongside Balmain’s Olivier Rousting and Givenchy’s Ozwald Boateng, who left his position in 2007.

Virgil Abloh began his career working for Fendi. He has also worked as a creative director for Kanye West, wherefrom he went on to create his own brand Off-White in 2012. Through his fashion house he has collaborated with other reputable brands such as Nike and Jimmy Choo. The brand has received recognition from many celebrities, which have included Rihanna and Kim Kardashian. His sneaker collections have been worn by Gigi Hadid, Beyoncé, and Naomi Campbell who also expressed her support for the designer on Instagram following Louis Vuitton’s announcement.

Abloh has expressed hope that his position within the fashion brand will create the perception that the industry is attainable to people from more diverse backgrounds.

Abloh’s works merge what has traditionally been perceived as street fashion with more luxurious high-end designs, blurring the lines between the two. Abloh has expressed hope that his position within the fashion brand will create the perception that the industry is attainable to people from more diverse backgrounds, saying “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 industry has faced scrutiny recently for borrowing designs from cultures that are not represented within major luxury houses and not giving due credit to those cultures. It would be fair to assume that having Abloh in the position of creative director will not only help Louis Vuitton stay on top by applying the designer’s proven ingenuity and original vision to the brand, but also help change how ethnicities and cultures other than the standard of white and Western are approached by the industry.

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