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The Real Reason Why Virgil's Louis Vuitton Show Mattered To So Many

It's about time the industry started putting respeckt on individuality.

Virgil Abloh is the first African-American creative director for Louis Vuitton, responsible for designing the brand's clothing. This week, he gave his inaugural debut at Paris Men's Fashion Week.

He didn't have a conventional path into the fashion industry, and many feel like he was the underdog who finally got his due when he was extended this role at LV.Virgil's background is in engineering and architecture, and he even had success as a DJ for many years. Then in 2012, he founded Off-White, the millennial-inspired clothing brand that almost immediately became a fashion favorite.Abloh is one of the only black designers to ever have been appointed to lead a fashion house (to the size of LV), other names including Ozwald Boateng of Givenchy and Olivier Rousteing of Balmain (pulling receipts for y'all).
Afp Contributor / AFP / Getty Images

He didn't have a conventional path into the fashion industry, and many feel like he was the underdog who finally got his due when he was extended this role at LV.

Virgil's background is in engineering and architecture, and he even had success as a DJ for many years. Then in 2012, he founded Off-White, the millennial-inspired clothing brand that almost immediately became a fashion favorite.

Abloh is one of the only black designers to ever have been appointed to lead a fashion house (to the size of LV), other names including Ozwald Boateng of Givenchy and Olivier Rousteing of Balmain (pulling receipts for y'all).

I won't front, I almost didn't write this piece. Not because I didn't think that Virgil Abloh and his first show weren't important for the people, but because I was tired of the media circling the moment around him and Kanye's embrace.

Basically, these two hugged at the show and wound up crying, which turned into the moment that stole the spotlight — as opposed to it being the first Louis Vuitton show with Virgil at the helm.
Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Basically, these two hugged at the show and wound up crying, which turned into the moment that stole the spotlight — as opposed to it being the first Louis Vuitton show with Virgil at the helm.

People were anxious to see if Kanye West would be at Virgil's first LV show, given their longstanding friendship had recently been questioned from beef within the rap industry — specifically by Drake.

Okay, backstory: Virgil and Kanye are not only both from Chicago, but they also interned at Fendi together in 2009. While they each went off and forged their own paths, MANY thought that Kanye was secretly jealous of Virgil and the success of his brand, Off-White, while Ye's line, Yeezy, was a slow build for fashion lovers. Then when a rap beef between Pusha-T, Kanye, and Drake, went down recently, many were reminded of the possible tension when Drake said, "I could never have a Virgil in my circle and hold him back ’cause he makes me nervous / I wanna see my brothers flourish to their higher purpose."So pretty much, we all wanted to see what went down.
Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Okay, backstory: Virgil and Kanye are not only both from Chicago, but they also interned at Fendi together in 2009. While they each went off and forged their own paths, MANY thought that Kanye was secretly jealous of Virgil and the success of his brand, Off-White, while Ye's line, Yeezy, was a slow build for fashion lovers. Then when a rap beef between Pusha-T, Kanye, and Drake, went down recently, many were reminded of the possible tension when Drake said, "I could never have a Virgil in my circle and hold him back ’cause he makes me nervous / I wanna see my brothers flourish to their higher purpose."

So pretty much, we all wanted to see what went down.

But let's take the time to put the spotlight on the real moment here: Virgil's career. He carved a name for himself in the fashion world by bringing couture to street-wear and street-wear to couture through his brand, Off-White.

For all the inner city kids who forged their identities and paths through the clothes they wore and how they made it ~fly,~ now they got to see someone creatively retell that on the runway (and no, they didn't make it a white girl with cornrows).
Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

For all the inner city kids who forged their identities and paths through the clothes they wore and how they made it ~fly,~ now they got to see someone creatively retell that on the runway (and no, they didn't make it a white girl with cornrows).

And when it came to his first show for Vuitton, Abloh gave us sneak peeks at what to expect: the idea of possibility.

@virgilabloh / Via instagram.com

Abloh pumped up signature pieces of the Louis Vuitton brand. But the entire idea of the runway, to me at least, crept heavily around this idea of possibility.

Then came the show. The models were all shades and color spectrums, showing people the beauty of representation; that the thought of diversity isn't a quota to be filled, but a lifestyle.

Bertrand Guay / AFP / Getty Images

The collection made waves. In a sweeping gesture during Abloh's final walk, he and Ye embraced and began crying, signaling the full-circle moment from intern to this show.

Virgil runs into Ye’s arms at the close of his 1st show for #LouisVuitton What a moment! #LVMenSS19

Yes, the moment was sweet. And yes, I even shed a bit of a thug tear. But while the rest of the world focused on the reconciliation of these men, or even the questioning of their friendship, the show had a bigger, deeper meaning than that.

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Even today, it STILL feels like representation is a hard thing to get people on board with. We get used to seeing people of color hit a glass ceiling sooner than others. So this moment? Child, A BLACK MAN IN A PARISIAN HOUSE IS LIT.

The best part is that the world isn't just cheering for Abloh because he fulfills a diversity quota. The man worked for his spot and has proven that fashion is slowly disassembling how elitist it can be. The cool kid in your art class, or in the studio, or even on your Instagram can have the access and power to make shifts to the culture. Virgil's story isn't just commendable — it's inspiring AF.
Bertrand Guay / AFP / Getty Images

The best part is that the world isn't just cheering for Abloh because he fulfills a diversity quota. The man worked for his spot and has proven that fashion is slowly disassembling how elitist it can be. The cool kid in your art class, or in the studio, or even on your Instagram can have the access and power to make shifts to the culture. Virgil's story isn't just commendable — it's inspiring AF.

Success stories like this don't happen every day. Virgil is one of many examples, however, that prove your unique gift is simply that. YOURS.

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

And that's what this moment is to so many people. A moment where the world has to stop and acknowledge that the possibility of a Black man — with no formalized fashion education and just a dope ass work ethic — could really lead one of the world's most eponymous brands.

Now, others can look and say, "I can do that," or "I can be that." We're not living in a world of fake opportunities or limited possibilities. The doors are opening and you can pursue your dreams however you want to, honey!
Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Now, others can look and say, "I can do that," or "I can be that." We're not living in a world of fake opportunities or limited possibilities. The doors are opening and you can pursue your dreams however you want to, honey!

It doesn't matter your path or your trajectory, you can bring life to whatever space you wish to experience. Oh, and people of color don't have to live in the margins of the industry, anymore. EVERYONE CAN HAVE A SEAT AT THIS DAMN TABLE.

@virgilabloh / Via instagram.com

Abloh's "You can do it too..." never rang as true as in that moment. I'll just say this, once: VIRGIL, I AM SO FUCKIN' PROUD OF YOU.

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