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Death of Acclaimed Designer Virgil Abloh Saddens Chinese Fans

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Virgil Abloh, the founder of Off-White and the artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear, passed away on November 28 at the age of 41.

An official announcement of Abloh’s death was posted on the designer’s Instagram. It stated that he had been secretly battling cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer, for more than two years.

“Through it all, his work ethic, infinite curiosity, and optimism never wavered. Virgil was driven by his dedication to his craft and to his mission to open doors for others and create pathways for greater equality in art and design,” the announcement read. “He often said, ‘Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,’ believing deeply in the power of art to inspire future generations.”

Bernard Arnault, the chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, said in a statement that “Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom.”

The acclaimed Black designer has been widely celebrated for transforming fashion and breaking barriers. In fact, Abloh was promoted by LVMH in July, gaining a seat at the table and becoming the most powerful Black executive in one of the world’s leading luxury clothing companies.

The news of Abloh’s passing sent waves of shock through Weibo, a Chinese microblogging platform. The related hashtag ‘Virgil Abloh passed away’ (#Virgil Abloh去世#) was trending on Weibo, accumulating more than 280 million views. Chinese netizens expressed their sadness, with some highlighting their appreciation for the late designer’s work.

“He was only 41,” a netizen posted, “When I read his bio, his philosophy that ‘all types of beauty are connected’ really spoke to me.”

Another shared her encounter with the designer, “When I connected with Abloh on Zoom this time last year, I found him very humble and kind.”

Some netizens posted photos of Off-White sneakers in memory of the designer.

Off-White

Image via Weibo

“[When I found out about his death], the first thing that came to my mind was ‘The Ten’ collaboration between Nike and Off-White,” a fan wrote, “In retrospect, maybe he released ‘The 50’ (a collection of 50 sneakers) all at once because he wanted to leave the world his final work.”

Cover image via Depositphotos

Kayla He
    Born and raised in China, Kayla received her BA in Communications and Public Service from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently works as a staff writer at RADII and is passionate about telling stories related to social issues women's empowerment. You can find her exploring coffee shops in Shanghai in her free time or rushing for Duffy and Friends plush toys at Shanghai Disneyland.
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