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‘It’s Virgil Abloh Day’ – Designer remembered in IL hometown

Memorial to Virgil Abloh on the Coronado Theater

ROCKFORD – Wednesday was “Virgil Abloh Day in Rockford. The city’s mayor proclaimed the day in honor of a prolific fashion designer who passed away over the weekend.

In 2018, Virgil Abloh turned heads by becoming the first black designer at the head of Louis Vuitton’s menswear. Abloh passed away over the weekend after a 2 year battle with cancer. He was 41. State Representative Maurice West called Abloh an “815 legend.”

“Within nine years from being called an intern, he became the first African American artistic director for Louis Vuitton,” said West. “From an intern to a legend, within 10 years. Don’t despise small beginnings. Virgil did not.”

In advance of his Nike and Off-White collaboration for the World Cup, Abloh gifted jerseys and cleats to the Boylan Catholic High School soccer team, of which he was once a part. The package included a handwritten note that read: “This is all for you. I was once in the same green and white uniforms. Enjoy these Off-White jerseys, once a Titan, always a Titan.”

Before arriving at Louis Vuitton, Abloh founded his own label, Off-White, in 2012. A couple years earlier he had interned alongside Kanye West at Fendi, the luxury Italian fashion house. He studied civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and architecture at The Illinois Institute of Technology.

Throughout his creative career, Abloh collaborated with countless artists and labels and even museums. But before all of that, Abloh was from Rockford, Illinois — born and raised.

Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Newsroom gets stories from public radio stations from across the state, including WBEZ-Chicago, WCBU-Peoria, WGLT-Normal, WVIK-Rock Island, WIUM-Macomb, WNIJ-DeKalb, WSIU-Carbondale, WUIS-Springfield, and St. Louis Public Radio.

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