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Texas style expert reflects on Virgil Abloh’s legacy — ‘Symbol of a movement’

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Texas style expert reflects on Virgil Abloh's legacy — 'Symbol of a movement'

AUSTIN (KXAN) — To summarize Virgil Abloh’s influence on the luxury fashion industry would be nearly impossible, said Michelle Washington, an Austin-based TV style expert. But through his pioneering work as a leading Black creative in the luxury men’s fashion world, Washington said he’s left an indelible mark on the field and emerging artists.

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“He allowed Black people to dream,”She said. “He opened that door for dreaming again. And this was for a marginalized section of the community, where opportunities may or may not have been available. But here Virgil was, being a breaker of glass ceilings.”

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Abloh was an American fashion designer known for his work as artistic director for Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection and as founder and CEO of fashion house Off-White. After a 2019 diagnosis for cardiac angiosarcoma (a type of cancer), he died Sunday at 41 years old.

Washington said that Abloh is the first Black designer to become the artistic director at a French luxury fashion house. His designs helped modernize luxury men’s fashion, carrying it into the 21st century and beyond, she added.

“He was a symbol of a movement,”She said. “He was the azygous of the times of what we recognize as a modern menswear designer — virtually a pioneer in all of this, in the single span of his career.”

She credited the “visionary color”his artistic designs brought to Parisian runways and for reimagining how designs could succeed at the luxury level.

Abloh studied architecture and civil engineering prior to his luxury fashion career. Washington said that those elements were a part of his personal history and influenced his designs.

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“He was coming from a different aspect of building and creating, and then he took a shift into the fashion industry,”She said. “He could see things that other people couldn’t see because of his different background and perspective coming into the creative field.”

Washington’s work had a profound impact on emerging Black designers and creatives. His work rewrote the possibilities for what was possible. She said that Washington’s designs and artistic vision will be remembered for generations to come, as well as his history-making achievements in luxury fashion design as a Black designer.

“His mark on the luxury industry in fashion will not be erased,”She said. “It will be something that people will landmark to the end of time, because of what he was able to dream and achieve.”

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