Who is Virgil Abloh and What Is His Net Worth?
Update: RIP Virgil (9/30/1980-11/28/2021)
Virgil Abloh is an American designer, entrepreneur and DJ who has frankly changed the fashion world completely. Born to Ghanaian immigrants in Rockford, Illinois, Virgil Abloh describes himself as an ‘average kid from the suburbs’ - his earliest influences were esteemed music groups like the Wu-Tang Clan (an American hip-hop group which originated in New York City which consisted of prolific East Coast rappers like Method Man and RZA to name a few), Nirvana (who doesn’t know about Nirvana? - seriously, google them if you do not!) and the Beastie Boys (an American rock group from New York City that was formed in 1978). Abloh believes that his teenage years were the ‘foundation’ for the skyscraper of success that he achieved later in life, and believes that his childhood still inspires him to this day.
Virgil Abloh graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering; now, how did a civil engineer end up becoming the artistic director of French fashion powerhouse, Louis Vuitton? The skills that Abloh gained from his time at the University of Wisconsin helped him greatly in turning the fashion world on its head later on in life. Abloh learned the nooks and crannies of programs like Adobe Suite and other programs while he went to the Illinois Institute of Technology to get a master's degree in Architecture; it would be the extensive knowledge of these programs that would help him innovate designing and allow him to make streetwear high-end fashion.
Abloh’s time at the Illinois Institute of Technology helped him bridge the gap between fashion and architecture due to some of the people he met there. He began working in a screen-printing shop where he refined his talents and gained a plethora of experience – his time at the screen-printing shop called Custom Kings still influences Abloh to this day.
It was at Custom Kings that Abloh met an artist that would help propel his career to levels that Abloh himself had not imagined. After graduating from the Illinois Institute of Technology with his degree, a mutual friend of Kanye West (yes, Yeezy as you may know him!) and Virgil Abloh introduced the two to each other. The mutual friend that helped introduced ‘Ye’ to Abloh was Don C, who is an American streetwear designer (actually the best man at Kanye and Kim’s wedding!). The two hit it off and became friends, and Abloh became Yeezy’s creative consultant at just 22 years of age. Virgil describes his time with Kanye fondly, saying that more than any official job ‘title’, ‘I was his assistant creatively’. Abloh quickly rose up through the ranks and became creative director at DONDA (named after Kanye’s mother, it was the creative ‘think tank’ that Kanye used for inspiration). Kanye also entrusted Virgil with the important task of directing the art for the collaboration album between Kanye West and billionaire Jay-Z; the album was called ‘Watch the Throne’ and Abloh received a Grammy nomination for his artistic direction.
Both Kanye West and Virgil Abloh interned at Fendi together which gave them firsthand experience of the intricacies of the fashion world. It was the internship together that helped Abloh and Kanye West build a relationship that would propel them both to the top of their game.
Virgil stepped out on his own in 2012 when he created ‘Pyrex Vision’ - the brand was not much of a success but helped Virgil find his feet in the fashion industry. The reason it was not the best of successes was due to the fact that Virgil was simply taking clothes from brands like Ralph Lauren and Champion and screen printing a few images on top of them. He would take clothes from brands like those mentioned above, add his own twist to them and sell them for double, triple or even quadruple the price. Abloh describes his first individual venture into the fashion industry as an ‘art piece’ albeit an art piece that was not loved by all initially.
In 2013, Virgil Abloh launched the brand Off-White with the New Guards group which controls other fashion houses like Palm Angels and Heron Preston. (Regarding Off-White) Abloh says that he was attempting to tell ‘a dialogue between high fashion and streetwear’ - this gray area between high fashion and streetwear is what inspired the name. The brand is neither black nor white and is an Off-White color that lies somewhere in between.
The propulsion of Off-White as a global brand can be put down to the collaboration between Virgil and his brand, and Nike. The collection was called ‘The Ten’ and was launched in 2017 - it was called ‘The Ten’ because Nike allowed Virgil Abloh to work his magic on ten of their most popular silhouettes. The collection was a massive hit and prices of the shoes available in the original collection skyrocketed (almost all of the pairs are still above $1000). The success of the original collection saw a long-lasting relationship between Nike and Off-White being formed which still extends to today. The cherry on top of the cake for Abloh was his appointment as the artistic director for menswear for Louis Vuitton. His first collection was one of the most memorable Louis Vuitton collections and this only added to his fame.
So, what is Virgil Abloh's net worth?
Abloh (who was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2018) has a net worth that is estimated to be between $19,000,000 and $21,000,000. The net worth of Abloh is hard to accurately estimate as he collects a variety of paychecks from a variety of different companies like Off-White and Louis Vuitton.
Overall, Abloh has had a massive impact on the fashion world and the impact he has had has allowed him to amass large amounts of money. It is safe to say that Abloh is one of the most influential designers and people of all time, yet his net worth looks small when compared to fellow designer, influencer and friend, Kanye West who has a net worth of $1.8 billion.