In March of 2018, Louis Vuitton was the latest brand to push past barriers in the luxury brand industry by appointing Virgil Abloh, a black man, their new Artistic Director of their menswear line. Abloh is Ghanaian-African American, and he joins the rank of the rare few black designers that have headed houses in the luxury retail market. He joins that list with such Creative Directors as Olivier Rousteing for Balmain and Ozwald Boateng for Givenchy. However, Abloh is not new to the industry. He founded his own line, Off White, in 2012. He has also been a consultant, collaborator, and Creative Director for Kanye West. He designed the covers of West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album, as well as West’s and Jay Z’s Watch the Throne. He was even nominated for a Grammy award for the latter.
It is important to understand the significance of his appointment. The Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton brand, better known as LVMH, is one of the top luxury brands in the world. In 2017, they continued to grow in revenue, ending the year with $53 billion in sales, breaking sales records. The brand also holds a spot in the list of World’s Most Valuable Brands, sitting firmly in the top 20. So, his appointment as Creative Director for LV menswear is sort of a big deal. Abloh will be expected to assist in the continuous revenue growth of the LVMH brand – no pressure there.