Fashion designers across the African continent paid a vibrant tribute to the American star designer from Ghanaian origin Virgil Abloh on Monday to "have opened their voice" and allowed to believe in their dream.
Stylist and artistic director of men's house collections Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh, died on Sunday from cancer at 41 years old.This son of Ghanaian immigrants was the first great black creator recognized on the fashion scene, a world often criticized for his lack of diversity.
"Thank you Virgil for your bravery and your talent, who have changed things and allowed so many people to be seen and heard.You helped open the way.We will never forget you, "wrote the South African fashion designer Thebe Magu, first African Winner of the LVMH Prize in 2019 on Instagram in 2019."It is a huge loss for global fashion, all the more shocking as it was unexpected," reacted to AFP the Cameroonian creator Imane Ayissi, who joined the very closed circle of the big houses scrolling in 2020During Haute Couture Week in Paris.
"There remains a model for a whole part of the population by proving that it is possible to create creatively with immense success one of the very first luxury houses whatever its origin and its skin color".Born in the United States, Virgil Abloh has never forgotten his Ghanaian origins: in January 2021, the creator raised on the podiums of Louis Vuitton, Kente, a traditional fabric of Ghana, worn during the big ceremonies.
"Because a large number of diaspora Africans are deprived of their growing culture, fashion is one of the mediums that Virgil Abloh used to pay tribute" in Ghana, explains the Nigerian designer BubuOgisi who directs the Iamisigo brand, whose creations honor tissues and techniques from the continent.
According to this designer, Virgil Abloh also had a strong influence in the development of several streetwear brands in Africa.
"Many friends who have brands in Nigeria and Ghana have been inspired by the Off-White model", the luxury streetwear brand created by Virgil Abloh, she says."Party too early, thank you for your support for African skaters," the very trendy Nigerian skateboard clothing brand Wafflesncream on Monday on Instagram on Instagram on Instagram..
Fan of hip hop and urban crops, Virgil Abloh had notably helped finance a skatepark in Accra, the capital of his country of origin.In the West African country, he had also worked with UNICEF to promote education and entrepreneurship.
Throughout his career, the creator fought for more inclusiveness in the fashion industry.In 2017, he confided at a conference at the American University Harvard: "I find it difficult to consider myself a designer because designers do not look like me, it is a real obstacle".
His career has made it possible to give hope to very many black creatives, in the West and on the African continent."In the world, only a small number of black people arrived so high, and promoted the idea that anyone could become what he wanted, Virgil Abloh was one of them," said'AFP ADEDAYO LAKETU, a young Nigerian creator who founded the Pith Africa sewing mark.
"I want to do a billion times more, and work even harder because he showed me and tells me that it was possible".
© Agence France-Presse